This week in Mailbox: Czech victory over Switzerland in the opening match of Euro 2008, ski resorts and winegrowing in the Czech Republic. Listeners quoted: Roberto Carlos Alvarez-Galloso, Imo-Obong Umana, Sanusi Isah Dankaba, Lars Wieden.

Czech Republic - Switzerland,  photo: CTK
Hello and welcome to Mailbox. The deadline has passed this week for your entries to Radio Prague’s annual listeners’ contest. Thank you very much for the interesting essays on your favourite Czech sportspeople. All the six language sections of Radio Prague are now carefully reading the entries that arrived from all over the globe to select one of you who will win a trip to Prague. We will let you know as soon as the vote takes place and the winning entry will be read on the air.

Also on the subject of Czech sport, we have received these two e-mails following the Czech team’s victory in last weekend’s opening match of Euro 2008. This one is from our longtime listener Roberto Carlos Alvarez-Galloso from Florida:

“Congratulations on your victory against Switzerland!”

...and this one was sent by Imo-Obong Umana from Nigeria:

“What a scintillating game it was... I mean the Czech's first game with Switzerland. Petr Čech, the AC MILAN chap and the likes were doing what they know how to do best. Congratulations on winning your first game. Lest I forget, I went scouting down here looking for a Czech football jersey, but I couldn't find one. I'm in need of that. I want to sport that! Would you mind getting and sending off one of medium or average medium size to me, please? Please kindly do me this favour, I will be waiting...”

I’m very sorry but that’s a favour we cannot grant. They are a costly affair and Radio Prague does not have the means to purchase them to give them away.

Photo: Barbora Kmentová
And still on the subject of sport, Sanusi Isah Dankaba, also from Nigeria, would like to know:

“How many ski resorts are there in the Czech Republic?”

The Czech Republic is located in a basin surrounded by mountain ranges that form the bigger part of its border. Skiing is very popular in the country, even though snow conditions have been far from ideal in recent years. If we count all ski resorts in Bohemia and Moravia, including those with just one ski lift, there are over a thousand such places. But there are only about 200 major ones.

Lars Wieden from Sweden has this question:

“Do you produce grapes and wine in the Czech Republic?”

Winemaking has a long history in this country. Even though most Czechs associate winegrowing with Emperor Charles IV on whose orders vineyards were founded on the southern slopes around Prague, archeological finds suggest that grapes were harvested in southern Moravia as far back as the 3rd century AD in places where Roman legions stayed. There is evidence that vines were grown during the time of Great Moravia in the 9th century AD as well as in the Czech Přemyslid state after the year 1000, often by religious orders. Wine is grown to this day in Moravia and Central Bohemia and Czech and Moravian winegrowers are often successful in various international competitions. Two vineyards founded by Charles IV in Prague exist to this day, one of them just a ten-minute walk away from the Czech Radio building in the Vinohrady (or Vineyards) district.

Thank you for all your letters, e-mails and reception reports that have arrived this week, and please keep them coming. Our time is up, I’m afraid, but before I say good-bye, here is our competition question for June.

Born in 1942, she remains the most decorated Czech gymnast ever, with seven gold Olympic medals, four World Championship titles and eleven gold medals from European Championships, besides many other titles. In the 1990s, this outstanding sportsperson was also president of the Czechoslovak and later Czech Olympic Committee.

Send us your entries by the end of June to or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, Czech Republic. Four of you, who answer correctly, will be sent Radio Prague goodies. Have a good week and see you next Sunday, same time, same place.