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Today we continue in our readings from the entries sent in by our listeners for Radio Prague's annual competition in which we asked our listeners to identify three short sounds we played. Last week we heard the full entries by the English Section's finalists, Alon Raab and Brian Kendall, and today we'll read excerpts from the runner up entries in English.

The three sounds featured in our competition were the Prague metro, a call for help during the Prague Uprising of May 1945 and the Astronomical Clock on Old Town Square.

The first is described by Tony Nuttall from England.

The three sounds of this year's competition I find very evocative of both Prague as a city and of the Czech Lands and people as a whole. Your first sound is that of the Prague Metro and brings to mind the superb transport system that you are so lucky to enjoy. This is in complete contrast to the public transport that we have in England. On my first visit to the Czech Republic some five years ago I made my first venture onto the transport system of Prague and its hinterland. It was amazing, although not being a Czech speaker, I found every journey very easy. Each tram, train, bus or metro arrived at the stated time on the timetable and actually arrived on time at the destination I had chosen! Try that in London and you would be introduced to the world of signals failure, points failure or a plain simple cancellation. The ding dong of the Metro public address system is a joy to hear and brings back happy memories of Prague and its transport system.

The second sound prompted this response from Roger Chambers from the United States.

Barikády na Revoluční třídě v Praze
The second sound at first reminded me of the invasion of Prague by the Soviet Union in 1968. However, closer listening with the "...English... Americans... We need help... too many Germans..." This placed it at World War II, and found in an old Encyclopaedia Britannica, but the most detail was curiously found in the Lonely Planet Guidebook on Prague, quoted here:

On 5 May, 1945, the population of Prague rose against the German forces as the Red Army approached from the east. U.S. troops had reached Plzen, but held back in deference to their Soviet allies. The only help for Prague's lightly armed citizens cam from Russian soldiers of the so called Vlasov units, former POWs who had defected to the German side and now defected in turn to the Czech cause (they subsequently retreated to Western Bohemia and surrendered to the Americans). Many people died before the Germans began pulling out on 8 May, having been granted free passage out of the city by the Czech resistance movement (in return for which the Germans left without destroying any more buildings or bridges).

Most of Prague was thus liberated by its own residents before Soviet forces arrived the following day. Liberation Day is now celebrated on 8 May; under communism it was 9 May.

So, the sound heard was from a multi-lingual plea for help broadcast over Radio Prague / Czech Radio, most likely on May 5 or 6, 1945.

And Mary Lou Krenek from the United States described the third sound in our competition.

It is such a pleasant reflection to remember my experiences in the Old Town part of Prague. The plaza is always full of people, natives and visitors alike. Everyone seems to be drawn to the historical Old Town Hall surrounded by quaint shops and café restaurants. I remember simply relaxing at an outside café restaurant enjoying a nice goulash and a glass of local beer when the Astronomical clock on the side wall of Old Town Hall started its hourly performance and duty to the crowds around. The medieval clock dates back to the 15th century and gives the time of the day, the months and seasons of the year, the signs of the zodiac and the course of the sun and the moon. What a work of mechanical engineering and architecture! And, to entertain the crowds more, there is an hourly procession of Christ followed by his apostles. Death is represented by a skeleton who tolls the bell as Christ and Apostles emerge. A crow is above their heads which makes the crow sound after which the clock strikes.


Those were three excerpts from three runner-up entries, played at the request of our listeners. Thanks again to everyone who took part in our annual competition. Meanwhile, our monthly competition is still running, so to win one of four prizes given out every month, you need to answer this question.

"We would like you to tell us the name of the Czech-born tennis, soccer and ice hockey player who was born in 1895 and was this year inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame."

Please send us your answers by the end of August to the usual address, English@radio.cz or Radio Prague, 12099, Prague.