Charles Bridge

In Mailbox today: the statues on Prague’s Charles Bridge, incoming tourism, Radio Prague’s annual listeners’ contest. Listeners quoted: Harold Dietrich, Rassem ben Brahim, Jacob R. Jaks.

Charles Bridge
Hello and welcome to Mailbox, the programme for your questions and comments. Harold Dietrich from somewhere in cyberspace sent in the following question:

“Can you give me some information on the sculptors of the statues on Charles Bridge? Especially of St. John Nepomuk.”

Most of the statues were installed on the bridge in the 18th century, some of them in the 19th and even 20th century. They were sculpted by over a dozen artists, among them sculptors Matyáš Bernard Braun, Jan Brokoff, Ferdinand Maxmilián Brokoff, Josef Max, Emanuel Max, Ludvík Šimek, Jan Oldřich Mayer and Matěj Václav Jäckel, to name but a few. The statue of St. John of Nepomuk by Jan Brokoff dates back to the year 1683. The 14th century Czech saint and Catholic martyr John of Nepomuk was canonized 280 years ago by Pope Benedict XIII and incidentally, this past weekend, commemorative events were held in Prague 2 to mark his feast which falls on May 16. The festivities took place outside the church of St. John na Skalce where you can see Jan Brokoff’s wooden statue of the saint which served him as a model for his bronze statue installed later on Charles Bridge.

Rassem ben Brahim from Tunisia asks:

Illustrative photo: archive of Radio Prague
“What is the number of tourists coming to your country?”

According to the latest data by the Czech Statistical Office, the number of foreign tourists arriving in the Czech Republic in the first quarter of 2009 dropped by 17 percent compared to the same period last year. In the first three months of this year, just over a million tourists arrived in the country. In the last two quarters of 2008, the number of foreign tourists coming to the Czech Republic was 2.2 million and 1.4 million, respectively.

Radio Prague’s annual listeners’ competition increases the number of incoming tourists by a couple every year – as it has become a tradition that the author of the best entry wins a trip to Prague for two. Jacob R. Jaks from Florida would like to know more details about the criteria of the contest:

“Are there any specific rules to follow for submitting an essay for your 2009 competition (Most interesting Period or event in Czech history)? I’m referring to a maximum or minimum number of words, pages, photos, etc. Excuse me for using English. I’m trying to learn Czech, but have got a long way to go yet. Thank you.”

There are no firm rules as to the length of the entries but a few hundred words is perfectly fine. You can take inspiration from last year’s winning entries published on our website: It is not elaborate research that we are looking for but rather your personal view and originality. The deadline for your entries is slowly but surely approaching, so if you’d like to take part, all you need to do is answer this question:

What is the most interesting period or event from Czech history for you?

The author of the best submission will win a week-long stay for two in Prague; other interesting responses will be rewarded with material prizes and commemorative items. We will be announcing the best entries in our broadcast and on our website on the last weekend of June. Please send your submissions in by June 12 to the following address: Radio Prague, 120 99 Praha 2, Czech Republic or to our email address [email protected]. The main prize, accommodation in the heart of Prague, will be provided by Hotel Ungelt.

In the meantime, our monthly quiz is still running and this month, too, we continue in the series of Moravian-born greats.

This time we would like to know the name of the world-renowned physicist who was born in Brno in 1905 and died in 1955 in Zurich and apparently was the only Czech-born person involved in the US WWII Manhattan Project.

You have another week to send us the answer to [email protected] or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague. Thanks for listening today and until next week, bye-bye.