Part of Czechoslovakia until January 1993, the Czech Republic has a robust democratic tradition, a highly-developed economy, and a rich cultural heritage. The Czech Republic emerged from over 40 years of Communist rule in 1990, joining the European Union in 2004.
Prague is the capital city of the Czech Republic and there are two main languages spoken, Czech (94.9%) and Slovak (2%), with a population of 10.2 million.
Though the country has a strong tradition of Christianity, the Communist rule of 1948 to 1989 greatly repressed religious practice; even today, many citizens do not claim membership in any religious organizations. In 2001, about 52% of the population claimed to be atheist, while about 5% of the population are practicing Roman Catholics and !% are practicing Protestants. The Islam community has around 20,000 to 30,000 members while the Jewish community has only a few thousand people.
The constitution provides for religious freedom, and the government reportedly respects this right in practice. Religious affairs are handled by the Department of Churches at the Ministry of Culture. There is no requirement to register; however, officially registered groups are subsidized by the State. To register a church must have a minimum of 10,000 adult members permanently residing in the country; only 500 are necessary for churches which the World Council of Churches has already recognized.