Among the many Christmas events underway in Prague at this time of year is an exhibition of nativity scenes and bells at Bethlehem Chapel in the city centre. Hidden deep in the bowels of the chapel, the exhibition is light years away from the bright lights and bustling city life above. Everything on display is hand made –from wood carved nativity scenes to Christmas decorations made of lace – and it transports visitors to the Christmases of days-gone-by. My guide around the exhibition Hanka Drahošová says this is the place to come for the real Christmas spirit. More
Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka has indicated that three new bells could soon be added to Prague’s St Vitus Cathedral as replacements for original ones which bore the names Marie, Dominik, and Ježíš, that were requisitioned during the First World War but never replaced. Three spots in the rafters of the cathedral have been empty ever since. The replacements are expected to cost 1.6 million crowns. City Hall, Prague Castle Administration and a number of professors from Prague’s technical university, CVUT, have pledged to help raise the funds necessary for the project; documentation on the original bells is currently being put together.
Three bells rang out at the church of St Jakub in the south Bohemian town of Týn nad Vltavou for the first time in 68 years on Tuesday. Only one of the church’s original bells from the 17th century had remained after two of them were melted down to make weapons in World War II. Local people decided a year ago to rectify the situation and had two new bells made; one weighs 1,300 kg, while the second is rather lighter at 740 kg.
A traffic inspector makes off with a tram left unattended. The inhabitants of Hradec Králove put up a fight to bring back the sound of church bells at night, and Prague hosts the world’s geniuses. Find out more in magazine with Daniela Lazarova. More
Presidential candidate Jan Svejnar’s shoes come under close scrutiny in the town of Zlín, two Czechs get their hands stuck in a billiard table and many Bavarians are crossing the border for a quick fag in the Czech Republic. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova. More
In Encore we look at two recordings said to be inspired by church towers. It is well known that Bohuslav Martinu grew up in a room at the top of the bell tower in the little town of Policka, but we will also be looking at a living composer, who has found an "oasis of peace" at the top of a Baroque spire in Prague. More
Maria, Jan, Martin, Jindrich, Josef, Frantisek, Dominik, Vaclav and Petr. These might sound like ordinary Czech first names to you but their bearers are rather extraordinary. They were all born in 2003 and you can find them under the roof of a Renaissance tower in the centre of Prague. More
Just a few hours after the polling stations closed in June this year, the clapper of the famous Zikmund bell at Prague's St. Vitus Cathedral cracked and the bell fell silent. According to legend, the silencing of the Zikmund bell is an omen of national tragedy. Those who believe the legend first connected the omen to the outcome of the June elections, but looking back the silencing of the church bell could be seen as a forewarning of the disastrous floods, which hit the Czech Republic in August. Anyway, the clapper is now back in place and Zikmund is once again ringing loud and clear from Prague's St. Vitus Cathedral. More
And now, moving on to something lighter, but still connected - albeit tenuously - to the elections. As you've just heard, Czechs went to the polls a week ago, in an election which saw the Communist Party clinch their biggest share of the vote since 1989. Just four hours after the polling stations closed, however, a bell in Prague's St Vitus cathedral fell silent - which the more superstitious people of this country saw as an omen of impending doom. Dita Asiedu has more: