One Christmas carol that doesn't hail from the Czech Republic is the one about Good King Wenceslas, although he is this country's patron Saint and ruled here in the 10th century, until he was disposed of by the fratricidal Boleslav. The snow hasn't exactly been "deep and crisp and even" either so far this winter, but there is plenty of Christmas spirit about. Christmas Eve is the big day for Czech children, when "Jezisek" - the Infant Jesus - brings the presents, after the family has enjoyed a meal of fried carp and potato salad. And there is also
Coming up in this week's programme - the eagerly-awaited release of Jiri Menzel's adaptation of I Served The King Of England by the legendary Czech author Bohumil Hrabal. And four young Czech women bring the sounds of Africa to the heart of Central Europe - the Yellow Sisters talk about Mayan oracles, Gambian rhythms and their new album, Singalana.
Charles Bridge is one of the most famous symbols of Prague, but did you know that it was known simply as the "stone bridge" until the 19th century? Or that the statues of saints that line the sides were a late addition in the 18th century? In 2007, a museum of Charles Bridge will open, dedicated to preserving the bridge's history and legends.
Letna Park in Prague occupies a high, flat plain overlooking the Vltava river. Over the centuries, it's been the location of a military barracks, May Day parades, and last winter, a tent city for the Prague's homeless population. This season, Letna has a new occupant, the variety show known as Palazzo.
Usually in Czech Books we discuss poetry or prose, but for this week's programme we look at an intriguing book that fits neither category. Instead it is a collection of interviews, coming from a part of the Czech Republic that has gone through huge and sometimes traumatic changes over the last sixty or seventy years. I talk with two people who were very closely involved in the book, Matej Spurny and Ondrej Matejka.
The Art Nouveau "Slav Epic" is considered the magnum opus of the artist Alfons Mucha. But for decades the paintings have been housed "temporarily" in a chateau in a small Moravian village which is difficult to reach. The city of Prague has long wished to build a home for the paintings, and a spokesman now says construction of a permanent gallery could start in a little more than a year.
It has become a tradition now that each December the Prague City Museum holds a Christmas-themed exhibit, most often displaying historic nativity scenes once manufactured in the Czech lands. But, these days such exhibits are a "dime a dozen", so this year the museum opted for something a little different. Organisers approached three collectors to help put together a show on antique dolls. The result is "Dolls of Our Grandmothers", displaying more than 600 dolls from 19th and early 20th centuries. If you're a fan or a collector, this is a show not
Numerous newspapers and magazines serve the Czech community in the United States, from "nationwide" publications such as Americke listy to regional titles like Czech Nebraska. There are also several internet websites and email newsletters, such as the weekly Dumpling News; it is produced by Zora Pergl, a woman of Czech descent based in Florida. I asked her how Dumpling News has been received since its launch in April last year.