15-02-2004

In this edition of Mailbox: The Postal Museum, Zelary, CzechInvest and Czech Trade. Listeners quoted: Vincento Pareli, Jim Kernsey, Ben Clanis

Vincento Pareli is Italian but lives in New York and loves to tune into various stations from around the world on his short-wave radio. Radio Prague is one of them. Mr Pareli asks:

ZelaryZelary "In a recent broadcast you mentioned that Zelary has been nominated for the Oscars in the best foreign film category. I have not seen it yet and hope it will be available here in the US. I remember when Dark Blue World was nominated for the Academy Awards. I could not wait to see it and was very disappointed when I finally did. I think that Czech directors should continue producing movies with the Czech originality of films like Closely Watched Trains or Kolya. Is Zelary as commercial as Dark Blue World? How popular is it at home?"

It's hard to say. I have not seen it myself and have heard mixed reviews. But you are right in saying that Dark Blue World was made to attract a broader audience. Zelary sticks to a style that is more representative of Czech cinematography. It got a total of eleven nominations in twelve categories for the Cesky Lev, or Czech Lion, film awards. So, if you judge by the number of nominations, then it's clearly popular in the Czech Republic. But I guess we'll have to wait until the award ceremony on March 6th to see how many Czech Lions director Ondrej Trojan gets to take home.

 

Jim Kernsey from Sydney, Australia sent us an e-mail asking:

"Do you have a Post Ministry? I spent many unsuccessful hours on the internet, trying to find a website of the ministry. It may sound like a crazy thing to do but one of my hobbies is to read about the history of postal services around the world. One of the highlights of my planned trip to Prague this summer will be a visit to the ministry and your post office. Will there be anyone there to give me a tour?"

The bad news is that the Czech Republic does not have a Post Ministry. Since the 1990's, all postal services are controlled by the state-owned Czech Post, while the management of telecommunication is the responsibility of SPT Telecom. However, there was a ministry that controlled them both in Czechoslovakia. When Czechoslovakia gained independence in 1918, the Ministry of Post and Telegraph Offices was established to control the postal services but most of all to create a link of the postal, telegraph and telephone network between the Czech lands and the Slovak lands.

But do not despair, Mr Kernsey. If you are interested in how the postal service was born and developed over the years, visit the Postal Museum in the Prague 1 district. With the exception of Mondays, it's open every day from nine to five and has a permanent exhibition of postage stamps, an exhibition on how stamps were made (e.g. stamps for Prague Castle), a library, a study room, as well as the original interior of a Prague townhouse from the mid-19th century. It also has a shop with souvenirs.

 

Moving on to our final question today. Ben Clanis from the UK asks:

"What is the difference between Czech Trade and Czech Invest? I seem to have them confused. Are they one and the same company?"

It is quite easy to get them confused, especially since they are both government agencies, of the Ministry of Trade and Industry to be precise, that aim to increase business relations between the Czech Republic and foreign states or companies. CzechTrade has been active since 1997 with the main task to assist in the development of mutual trade and co-operation. The main role of CzechInvest is to give potential investors a clear picture of what it's like to invest in the Czech Republic by providing all the necessary information and official rules and guidelines.

 

And we've almost reached the end of this week's edition of Mailbox but before we continue with the ABC of Czech, here's this month's competition question:

What Janacek opera will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of its world premiere? Our hint: it was premiered at the Czech National Theatre in Brno on January 21st, 1904.

Send your answers to the Radio Prague English Section, 120 99 Prague 2, the Czech Republic or by e-mail to english@radio.cz They should get to us by February 29. And our questions are clearly too easy for all of you as there hasn't been a single wrong answer yet. I'm going to have to think of a more difficult question for next month.

15-02-2004