02-07-2006

This week, instead of our usual Mailbox we announce the winners in our annual listeners' competition. If you remember we asked you to identify three different Prague sounds. We received a lot of answers from all around the world - although not quite as many as last time and several of you wrote in saying you found the competition particularly hard this year. But even if you did not get all three right, something is on the way to all of you who took the plunge and sent in your entries.

Here are the correct answers:

1. A station announcement on one of the three lines of the Prague metro, the underground system that carries over a million passengers every day in the Czech capital. The announcer is asking passengers to stand clear of the doors.

2. This is from the Prague Uprising against the German occupation in 1945. It is a collage of voices broadcast from this very building between the 5th and 8th May, as a battle raged to liberate the city, and the radio itself was besieged.

3. This sound proved the toughest challenge for many of you. It is, in fact, Prague's famous astronomical clock on the Old Town Square, which dates back to the Middle Ages and includes figures of the Twelve Disciples, and - yes - a cock that crows on the hour.

Most importantly when it came to choosing the winners, we also asked you to write a few words inspired by the three sounds.

We chose twelve finalists, two from each department. Here are the two from the English section:

Alon Raab, from Oregon, USA Brian Kendall, from the United Kingdom.

Congratulations to both of you - and we really enjoyed reading your answers inspired by those three sounds. We shall come back to them in a future edition of Mailbox.

I'd also like to mention eight other listeners in English, whose answers we particularly enjoyed:

Roger Chambers from New York, USA Tony Nuttall from the UK, Mary Lou Krenek from Texas, USA Jonathan Murphy from Ireland Roy Kitson from the UK, Donald Schumann from Colorado, USA Christopher Brooks from Minnesota, USA And Kristina Fallin from Illinois, USA.

The competition involved all six of Radio Prague's language sections, so we faced the tough task of choosing an overall winner. After long discussion the jury came to its decision and chose:

Dimitriy Balykin, from Nizhniy Novgorod in Russia.

And Dimitriy will be coming to Prague later this year, courtesy of the Hotel Falkensteiner Maria Prag.

Here is a short extract from Dimitriy's entry, translated into English:

"The second sound is the appeal with which the participants in the Prague Uprising turned to the Allied troops. From Radio Prague's programmes for the 60th anniversary, I discovered that throughout the post-war years the official attitude to these events was ambiguous. Czechoslovakia was liberated not just by the Soviet Army but also by the Americans. In the days of socialist Czechoslovakia only the Soviet soldiers were honoured. In the 1990s everything changed: suddenly people spoke of the Americans as the main liberators, and the role of the Soviet armies was neglected. But by the time of the 60th anniversary, Czech attitudes to our common history seemed to change again. Veterans from all the countries that had liberated Czechoslovakia were invited to the commemorations, and major celebrations took place in all areas of the Czech Republic, regardless of who had liberated them."

You can find full transcripts of the winning entries in the competition section of website. Many thanks to all of you who took part.

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