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 does not receive one penny for the tree but neither does he have to meet the cost of cutting or transporting it.
The Prague Christmas tree this year 2019 comes from a private estate close to Liberec about an hour drive north of Prague. Finally checked by Dendrologists and confirmed safe, it’s a Spruce tree (what the Czechs call Smrk) and at approximately 23 metres it’s the tallest in recent years. Prague still has memories of a similar sized tree that blew down in 2003 seriously injuring three people. The reason it was put forward as an option was because it was getting too big for it’s location close to a house and as it was growing alone it had both attractive and almost symmetrical foliage making it a suitable candidate. The tree is 55 years old.
So the Prague Christmas Tree is cut in the last week on November and transported to Prague approximately 4 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 (first Saturday before 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