This week in Mailbox: the village of Lidice in Central Bohemia, where is the Red River Valley mentioned in a song featured in SoundCzech, a restoration project discussed in Insight Central Europe, and what colour is the red squirrel? Listeners quoted: Elizabeth Funnekotter, Charles Chambers, Dick Derksen, Aloisie Krasny, Paul Kail.
In April the statue of Jan Hus dominating the Old Town Square was surrounded by scaffolding and covered up in large canvas to undergo vast renovation, which will take at least two years. In the meantime, tourists visiting the site will only see a huge advertisement in its place. This week the media reported that the scaffolding was causing damage to the statue: rust from the wire mesh, which holds the ad in place, has been dripping down, leaving orange stains on the stone.
Stories about the sterilization of Romany women stretch back as far as the 1970s. Experts suspect that there could have been as many as 2000 women sterilized in what is now the Czech Republic against their will. Since the fall of Communism, this topic has repeatedly made headlines, especially when last year a United Nations commission advised the Czech government to compensate victims of involuntary sterilization.
On this day, July 13, lovers of fine art are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the birth of Vaclav, or Wenceslaus, Hollar, one of the most famous Czech and European engravers and draftsmen of his time. The year 2007 has actually seen two important anniversaries: in March it was exactly 330 years since the great artist's death.
Dada was born in Zurich in February 1916, when Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings launched the Cabaret Voltaire. The First World War had brought many artists to the city, and besides opposing the war with a passion, the Dadaists defied prevailing artistic conventions, describing their work as 'anti-art'. Their impact on art, writing and theatre is felt to this day. But what does this have to do with the Czech Republic? The answer is: more than we might think.
Prague's famous Charles Bridge celebrates its 650th anniversary on Sunday. One of the oldest and certainly one of the most beautiful bridges in Europe, this ancient artery across the Vltava river links Prague's Lesser Town with the Old Town on the right bank and was vital to the development of the Czech capital.
An ongoing dispute over whether the communist hammer and sickle symbols belong on a wartime memorial to Russian soldiers who died during the liberation of Brno at the end of the Second World War has stumped Czech officials, divided the inhabitants of Brno and elicited an official protest from Russia.
Charles Merrill is an American philanthropist who has devoted his life to education, and one project close to his heart is a programme of scholarships for Czech students. In fact, he has spent USD 7 million sending over 200 young Czechs from Palacky University in Olomouc to colleges in the US. Recently Mr Merrill, who is 86 years old, was thanked for his great generosity by the Czech foreign minister, who presented him with a special award. When I spoke to Charles Merrill, he explained that his ties to this country go way back.
Chanan Rozen, who is in his late 80s, was the oldest person honoured last week at the Czech Foreign Ministry's annual Gratias Agit awards for promoting the good name of the Czech Republic around the world. For sixty years, Mr Rozen has been working to further relations between his native Czechoslovakia and Israel, where he has lived almost all his life.