Photo: CTK

This week in Mailbox: smoking in restaurants, the Czech Republic’s national orchestra, international airports in the Czech Republic. Listeners quoted: Aloisie Krasny, Ferhat Bezazel, Sanusi Isah.

Hello, it’s time once again to browse through your letters and e-mails and answer your questions. Radio Prague’s weekly letters programme is here to do just that.

Photo: CTK
And let’s begin with an e-mail from Aloisie Krasny from Sydney, Australia. She responds to a report by Rosie Johnston on President Klaus’s recent controversial remarks about passive smoking.

“I must admit that Václav Klaus has got this one wrong. Why should non-smokers have to endure smoke in their hair, eyes, clothes, and in their lungs whilst trying to enjoy a meal at a restaurant. It has been proven worldwide that passive smoking kills. A non-smoking ban in public places should be enforced and those who wish to smoke can do so outside an establishment. I should hope that there is a no smoking ban in place in all Czech offices as well?”

An “anti-smoking” law came into force two years ago but critics say it is too lenient and formulated in such a way that makes it difficult to enforce. It for example stipulates a total ban on smoking in spaces connected to public transport, for example railway station platforms and bus stops. That has proven difficult to enforce. The law did not ban smoking in restaurants and an amendment to that effect is currently being discussed by the lower house. As for offices, all so-called smoking rooms have been banned from the buildings of state and public institutions and smokers need to go outside.

On a different note Ferhat Bezazel from Algeria asks:

“When was your national orchestra founded?”

The Czech Philharmonic was founded in 1894 and its first concert was held on January 4th, 1896 in Prague’s Rudolfinum concert hall. The conductor then was Antonín Dvořák himself. Since then the list of the orchestra’s chief-conductors has included such names as Václav Talich, Rafael Kubelík, Zdeněk Mácal and Jiří Bělohlávek. Otherwise, the oldest Czech orchestra is the Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra or Karlovarský symfonický orchestr founded in 1835.

Prague Ruzyně airport
Sanusi Isah from Nigeria has this question:

“Please tell me how many international airports there are in the Czech Republic, and when Prague international airport was built. Thank you.”

In all, there are eighteen international airports in this country. Only three of them provide regular transport. Those are Prague Ruzyně airport, Brno-Tuřany and Ostrava-Mošnov international airports. The rest are military or private airports. Prague Ruzyně airport celebrated 70 years of its existence last April.

Visitors to our website will know that it offers much more than an archive of Radio Prague’s broadcasts in sound and text. We now offer plenty of multimedia content, from sound to photos to videos. Most recently we have added photo and video footage of Prague’s carnival Bohemian Carnevale 2008 which seeks to revive a tradition going back 700 years. You can get a taste of the carnival atmosphere in the centre of Prague if you go to and click the Bohemian Carnevale banner.

...And you can also take part in our monthly listeners’ contest. As usual there will be small gifts courtesy of Radio Prague for four of you who send us the name of our mystery person.

Our February mystery woman was a member of an old Bohemian noble family. She was born in 1868 and in 1900 she married a man of a higher social status than hers. Fourteen years later the tragic death of the couple triggered World War I.

As always, your answers as well as all other mail are eagerly awaited at the usual addresses: [email protected] and Radio Prague, 12099 Prague. Your competition answers should reach us by the end of February. Thanks for tuning in today and until next week, take care.