Today in Mailbox: The Czech Republic’s parliament, response to Letter from Prague, “Leaving” by Václav Havel. Listeners quoted: Rana Dewan Rafiqul, Steven Bell, Lynda-Marie Hauptmann.

Hello and welcome to Mailbox, Radio Prague’s weekly programme for your views, comments and questions.

Our regular listener from Bangladesh, Rana Dewan Rafiqul has this question:

“What is the name of your parliament house?”

The Czech Republic’s parliament has two chambers. The lower house – officially known as the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic has 200 members and its seat is a compound of Baroque palaces in the Malá Strana district of Prague, among them the Thun Palace, Smiřický Palace and Sternberg Palace. The upper house – the Senate – is located just round the corner and its 81 members occupy the beautiful premises of the Wallenstein Palace, the Kolowrat Palace and the Small Fürstenberg Palace.

Before the split of Czechoslovakia, the country’s Federal Assembly met in the purpose-built steel-and-glass structure at the top of Wenceslas Square in the centre of Prague. The building later housed the offices and studios of Radio Free Europe and has recently become part of the National Museum.

Steven Bell from Canada responds to Sarah Borufka’s Letter from Prague on dogs which made him remember the old days:

“I did not have a park to go to but there were always plenty of dog owners walking around and by the coffee shops I used to frequent in the mornings and late afternoons in the summer in a city called New Westminster... I remember very much the similarities you wrote about between the dogs and their owners. I had something of a mental picture of the three Scottish terriers you spoke of doing exactly as you described on a sunny day. I have never seen an Irish wolfhound before in real life but they sound like wonderful dogs. Thank you for the walk down memory lane for me and letting others see the simple enjoyments that are free in life such as dog watching. … Keep up the good work, and to you all at Radio Prague once again, my weekend has been filled with information of all kinds from the Czech Republic.”

Regarding a recent story on Radio Prague, Lynda-Marie Hauptmann from the US asks:

“Do you have more information on Mr. Havel's play, “Leaving”, and the film version he is planning? I hope when the film is complete, that it will be released here in the US.”

Radio Prague has covered the drama extensively since its Czech premiere. The easiest way to look up the articles is to type “Odcházení”, including the diacritics, into the search box on the top of the homepage. For a thorough look at the play, you can check out the Arts with Rob Cameron from May 23, 2008 on our website at

Václav Havel is to attend the play’s premiere at the Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia, in the US on May 26. The shooting of the feature film based on ‘Leaving’ and directed by Václav Havel is scheduled for this summer. Its release is expected early next year.

And speaking of writers, Radio Prague, as every year, gives one of its listeners a chance to win a trip to the Czech Republic. All you need to do is write a few sentences on the following subject:

Which Czech writer or literary work do you like best and why?

The person who sends the best answer, which will be chosen by a jury, will win a weeklong stay for two in Prague. There will also be prizes and souvenir items for runners-up.

The best answers will be featured in our programme and published on our website on the last weekend of June.

Your entries should reach us no later than June 15, 2010 at the following address:

Radio Prague
Vinohradská 12 12099 Prague 2
Czech Republic

or via email at:

The main prize is being sponsored by PARKHOTEL Praha. Parkhotel Praha offers visitors a blend of comfort and history, quality and modern design, within easy reach of the city centre.

There are no strict rules as to the word count but for inspiration you can take a look at last year's competition results at

And as every month you can take part in our little monthly quiz.

This month we would like you to tell us the name of the Prague-based author born in 1917 in Slovakia whose book was made into a movie that won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2008.

We expect your answers by the end of May at or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague. There will be a small prize for the lucky winner who is picked out of the hat. Please keep those letters and reception reports coming and until next week, take care.