Today in Mailbox: Spotlight on Říp Mountain, music played on Radio Prague. Listeners quoted: Mark Zubik, Richard Prokopchuk, David Eldridge, William Dodd.

It’s time to browse through your e-mails and letters, it’s time for Radio Prague’s weekly Mailbox. Welcome and thanks for tuning in.

"What Mecca is to Mohammed, Říp is to a Czech" was the title of a recent Spotlight by Christian Falvey that inspired a number of our listeners to write in. Among them was Mark Zubik from the US:

“I enjoyed the history lesson regarding the beginnings of Czech civilization and culture... Growing up in Texas, and having a keen interest, but only recent access to my heritage from the Czech Republic, I rely on your website to learn as much as possible... Thank you for your website.”

Richard Prokopchuk also follows our programmes in the United States:

“I want to thank you very much for the article on Říp Mountain and the legend of the tribes and how Čechy came to be. I took over two years of Czech language and culture studies in the early and late 1970s. My teachers gave us more than just language training, they gave us a deep feeling of the Czech people and who they were. I always knew that in my lifetime the Czechs, Moravians, and Slovaks would be free people. I finally had an opportunity to visit Prague for a six-month stay in 1994. I really fell in love with the country and the people, but not the Prague traffic.

“Our teachers actually presented us the story as one of five brothers, not three and did not seem to know the legend very well, but it has always intrigued me. Perhaps there was a brother who went to Ukraine, which is my ethnic background. My Czech studies also enabled me to speak Czech quite well, and I was told by quite a few that I had no accent at all, but spoke a Czech that was spoken in the 40s. So, I had to learn the more modern version. They also told me I spoke ‘ř’ better than many Czechs. It was quite flattering.”

And David Eldridge from England wrote:

“I loved the Spotlight feature on Říp Mountain. I passed Říp in June on the way to Terezín from Prague. Even knowing what it is, an extinct volcano, it still looks strange as if it is lost, separated from other extinct volcanoes nearby. It must have been a very strange entity when it was active. I’ll have to make a special trip to that place sometime, providing there are no thunderstorms expected!”

Thank you for your comments. Říp is indeed an impressive feature in the Central Bohemian landscape. Sitting on its own in the middle of the flat Elbe basin, it looks more like an oversized molehill than a mountain. Yet, there is something strangely heartwarming about it. On a clear day, you can actually see Říp quite well from the hills of Prague, and of course from the Petřín lookout tower or even better the Žižkov TV tower.

It happens quite often that listeners who tune in to our rebroadcasts in Canada ask us about the music we play in our programmes. As did William Dodd from Toronto:

“I often enjoy listening to Radio Prague during the CBC Radio Overnight broadcasts. Monday's program included an interesting segment on the feminist movement in the Czech Republic. I found the closing music for this program most enjoyable and wondered if you could tell me the name of the piece, and the name of the band. Would I be able to purchase a copy of the music through Radio Prague?”

I believe the piece you have in mind is the song “Popí rondo” by the Czech band Jablkoň. If you enter its name in a search engine a few sites should pop up that will let you download the song for a fee.

Our time is running out and all that remains to be done is repeat our quiz question:

Our August mystery man was born in 1862 in the North Bohemian village of Jiřetín pod Bukovou into a family of a glass cutter. He went on to start his own glass cutting business in Austria and his surname today is a brand name for precision cut crystal glass.

Please send us your answers by the end of the month to [email protected] or Radio Prague 12099 Prague. There will be small gifts for four listeners who give us the correct answer. Thanks for listening today and until next week bye-bye.