The Prague Christmas Tree
It’s a dominating decoration on the Old Town Square throughout December and early January but there’s something even more special about what is known as the Prague Christmas Tree. It’s roughly the same each year so let me explain where the tree comes from and how it gets to the Old Town Square. Remember that you’ll learn about the tree, the market and Czech Christmas traditions on the Prague Christmas Markets Walking Tour.
Did you know that the Prague Christmas Tree is selected from a choice of more than 20 different options and NONE of them are from a public forest. You have to know that there are two reasons for putting a tree forward as a candidate for the Old Town Square market. Firstly it’s prestige and the knowledge that your tree will be admired by hundreds of thousands of people. But secondly, it’s money. The owner receives a small cash prize for winning the competition but does he have to meet the cost of cutting or transporting it.
The Prague Christmas tree this year comes from public land in the village of Kytlice in the north east of the country. It’s another Spruce tree (what the Czechs call Smrk) this year, already checked by Dendrologists and confirmed safe. At the time of felling it was 58 years old and 25 metres tall but after positioning on the square it will be 22.5 metres tall but as usual it has been selected for it’s symmetrical form. The tree will be installed in the early hours on the night of November 22nd.
So the Prague Christmas Tree is transported to Prague approximately 5 days before the market officially opens (they have some issues getting the tree down Paris street because of the low hanging branches). The market then has four days to both construct and decorate the actual market itself PLUS the tree ready for the market opening day (Saturday before the first Advent Sunday so it’s in place for Mikulas night on December 5th). But they always seem to get it done in time. Be sure to enjoy the Prague Christmas Tree Sound and Lightshow video which is everyday during the Old Town Square Market from 4-30pm to 9-30pm.
Fun Fact: The 2018 Prague Christmas Tree was bought by a private company and the trunk was turned into furniture.
So here’s to another safe and festive Prague Christmas Markets season.
Picture Credits: idnes.cz