A statue is on the Charles Bridge in downtown Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, on Sept. 1, 2013. (Xinhua/Zhou Lei)
BEIJING, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping will make a state visit to the Czech Republic on March 28-30 at the invitation of Czech President Milos Zeman. So, what do you really know about the Czech Republic, and about Sino-Czech relations? Here is a recap.
The first thing that might come to mind is probably the capital city of Prague, with its Vltava River, like this:
A young couple kiss with the Vltava River and the Charles Bridge in the background in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, on Sept. 1, 2013. (Xinhua/Zhou Lei)
Its Old Town Square has remained virtually untouched since the 10th century. Tourists often gather in the city to admire its architecture, including the Rococo Kinsky Palace, the Gothic Tyn Cathedral and the Baroque St. Nicholas Church.
The photo taken on Sept. 2, 2013 shows the Old Town Square in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic. (Xinhua/Zhou Lei)
You may also think of Milan Kundera, the Czech author of "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," among other famous novels.
A file photo shows a Chinese version of the book The Unbearable Lightness of Being wrote by Czech author Milan Kundera. (Xinhua)
And Franz Kafka, author of "The Metamorphosis" and "The Castle."
A file photo of Franz Kafka from the website of vol1brooklyn.com
And the character of Mole, created by Czech animator and illustrator Zdenek Miler.
A file photo shows the cover of a Chinese version VCD of The Mole, a well known cartoon series from the Czech Republic. (Xinhua)
These are household names in China and beyond. But what else?
Geographically, the country, with an area of about 80,000 square km, is located in the "heart of Europe," bordering Austria, Germany, Poland and Slovakia.
In modern history, Czech people were among the victims of the notorious Munich Agreement in 1938, which permitted Nazi Germany's annexation of portions of the then Czechoslovakia along the country's borders. Then in 1968, the Soviet Union intervened in the "Prague Spring."
During WWII, the Czech Republic was one of the first regions occupied by Nazi Germany. On Sept. 3, 2015, Zeman came to Beijing to attend events marking the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Czech President Milos Zeman in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 4, 2015. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)
The 72-year-old Zeman became president in 2013. The year after, he led a big delegation on a visit to China, and the two sides reached cooperation agreements in various areas, including civil nuclear, finance, medical care and culture.
One thing you need to know: The development of bilateral relations goes way back. On Oct. 6, 1949, Czechoslovakia established diplomatic relations with China, as one of the first countries to do so. After the Czech Republic gained independence in 1993, the two countries decided to continue their relations that were established in 1949.
Some remarkable achievements:
China has become the Czech Republic's largest trading partner outside the European Union, and the Czech Republic has become China's second-largest trading partner in Central and Eastern Europe. In 2015, two-way trade volume reached 11 billion U.S. dollars, with an increase for three years in a row.
A delegate takes pictures while attending the China Investment Forum, in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, on Nov. 8, 2011. (Xinhua)
In November 2015, China and the Czech Republic signed a memorandum of understanding on jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, at the fourth summit of China and Central and Eastern European countries in east China's Suzhou city.
Xi's upcoming visit to the Czech Republic will be the first state visit by a Chinese president to the country in 67 years since the two countries established diplomatic ties, and his first visit to Central and Eastern Europe as head of state.
Besides high-level cooperation, down-to-earth cultural exchanges are also flourishing.
Here is Pavel Nedved, a retired Czech footballer. The former Juventus FC midfielder has been devoted to youth football development since his retirement in 2009, and has participated in Sino-Czech cooperation in this area.
Czech Republic's Pavel Nedved celebrates his team's goal during the first round match of the World Cup 2006 Group E against the USA in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, June 12, 2006. (Xinhua Photo/Liao Yujie)
And here is ice hockey, a leading sport in the country. Czechs are world famous for playing it. The two countries already have plans to jointly build an ice hockey training center. The 2022 Winter Olympics just sound more intriguing than ever.
Zhang Mengying (L) and Liu Zhixin (R) of China vie with Klara Chmelova of the Czech Republic during a final stage match of the women's ice hockey qualification tournament of 2014 Winter Olympics, in Weiden, Germany, on Feb. 10, 2013. (Xinhua/Luo Huanhuan)
Besides sports, Czechs also love beer, and are said to drink it like water, just like the Germans. In terms of food, they have "gulas" (or "goulash"), stewed beef with reportedly 20-plus different seasonings. The efforts they are willing to put into making a dish resemble those of the Chinese people.
The photo shows the dish of gulas taken in a restaurant in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, on March 27, 2016. (Xinhua/Meng Na)
And there is the Prague Spring International Music Festival, which is held every year for three weeks starting from May 12.
Can't wait to visit?