Vesna Vulovic, a flight attendant on a Yugoslav plane that broke apart above northern Bohemia in 1972, holds the world record for surviving the highest fall without a parachute: 10,160 metres. Now, however, that story is being challenged by a German journalist in Prague. He says the official version of what happened was a communist fabrication: Vesna Vulovic fell from a far shorter distance – and the plane may well have been shot down by Czechoslovakia.
Today in Mailbox we reveal the identity of December’s mystery Czech and quote from your answers. Finally, we announce the names of the four winners as well as a brand new quiz question. Listeners quoted: David Eldridge, Jayanta Chakrabarty, K.Thiagarajan, C. O. Agboola, Li Ming, Steve Wara, Anne Faust, Sara-Anne Peterson, Krzysztof Borski, Riaz Ahmad Khan, Henrik Klemetz, Charles Konecny, Mani Sankar Chhatri, Yukiko Tsuji-Maki, Paul R Peacock, and Colin Law.
If any country in the world is home to the Christmas carol, it has to be the Czech Republic. The tradition of carolling goes back centuries, and Czech Christmas music is a wonderfully rich mixture of spiritual, secular, classical and folk traditions. So for this special programme, we take you on a journey into the world of Czech Christmas music. In order to enjoy this programme fully, you need to hear the music. Just click on the “listen” icon. But even if you are not able to listen, you can read a transcript of part of my interview with a person
This year, some historians contend, marks exactly 1,100 years since the birth of St. Wenceslas, the Czech king and chief patron of the Czech lands. To celebrate this important anniversary, the National Gallery together with the Prague Archbishopric, organised a special exhibition at St Agnes’ Convent in Prague entitled Svatý Václav – ochránce české země or King Wenceslas – the Patron of the Czech lands.
With Christmas just round the corner, we break our chronological journey through the archives this week to go back to Christmas 1945. We’re in Kročehlavy, a suburb of the industrial town of Kladno near Prague. This was home to the survivors of one of the horrors of the wartime occupation, the murder in June 1942 of all the men and most of the children from the nearby village of Lidice. Only one Lidice family had survived the massacre intact: Josef Horák was one of two young pilots from the village who had fled at the beginning of the occupation,
Marking five decades since the death of the great Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů in 1959, a major international project entitled Martinů Revisited was officially launched on Thursday night with a concert at Prague’s Rudolfinum. It features scores of events, both in the Czech Republic and further afield, and will run for exactly two years, until December 12, 2010.
By the mid 1960s political control over many aspects of cultural and social life in Czechoslovakia had relaxed considerably. This was the height of the “New Wave” in Czechoslovak cinema, in theatre socialist realism had long gone out of fashion and in music the swinging sixties were well under way. But it was not just through the music it was playing that Czechoslovak Radio tried to keep pace with the changes. One programme that broke the traditional mould was launched in 1966 and was called “The 33 Questions of Marcel Proust”. These were questions