Countdown to Prague Christmas markets: Tree-lighting ceremony dates announced

The winning spruce to adorn Old Town Square this holiday season will arrive in Prague in six weeks.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 16.10.2023 15:52:00 (updated on 17.10.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague's Old Town Square will soon be decked with a towering Christmas tree, as the city gears up for the opening of its traditional holiday markets the first week of December.

On Monday, the winner of this year's tree search was announced. The giant spruce, which hails from the Liberec region, is due to arrive in the capital in six weeks when the two largest Christmas markets in Prague will begin setting up for the season.

The 27-meter spruce was grown on private land near the town of Mimoň. It was selected from among nearly 40 submissions to the annual "Hledá se strom" ("Tree Search") contest organized by market operator Taiko a.s. over the summer.

According to information published on the Taiko site, the Christmas markets in Old Town, Wenceslas Square, and Náměstí Republiky will be open from Dec. 2, 2023, to Jan. 6, 2024, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The landowner entered the contest out of safety concerns, as the large spruce was leaning toward his cottage. A dendrologist examined the 56-year-old tree and deemed it sound. As tradition holds, the felling, transport, and decoration of the tree will be overseen by Prague City Technologies.

Photo via Taiko
Photo via Taiko

"My colleagues at Prague City Technologies are intensively preparing for the felling and transport, which is always a big challenge. The goal is to decorate and ceremonially light the tree at the start of Advent," said Michal Hroza, Prague's councilor for infrastructure.

This marks the 13th year of Taiko's competition, which drew submissions from across the country; most entries were received from the heavily forested Liberec region. The winner receives CZK 10,000. A fresh tree has also been acquired for Wenceslas Square from the Hradec Králové region.

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Experts will fell the tree for the Old Town Square market on Nov. 25 before transporting it overnight to Prague on Nov. 27-28. The lighting ceremony is scheduled to commence the opening of the city's two largest Christmas markets on Dec. 2.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors descend upon the Czech capital towards the end of the year to attend the city's Christmas markets. In 2022, the Old Town Market was named by CNN among the best to visit during that winter holiday season.

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