Visit Old Town Square's 'Heavenly Christmas' holiday market this year

A full program including daily entertainment and free carp soup on the morning of Dec. 24 welcomes visitors to Prague's largest holiday market. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 24.11.2022 11:30:00 (updated on 24.11.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

Large Christmas markets in Prague’s center will be back this year without restrictions. The markets on Old Town Square and lower Wenceslas Square, which open on Nov. 26, will offer a minimalist style with a nod to Czech traditions and the story of a Heavenly Christmas. CNN and other news outlets routinely list Prague's markets as among the best.

Both markets will offer gifts, holiday decorations, and food, and be decorated with large spruce trees. The Old Town Square market also has a daily entertainment program. They will run until Jan. 6, when they end with a traditional Three Kings procession.

There will also be a smaller market on náměstí Republiky until Dec. 24. These three main markets are operated by the firm Taiko. The city center will also have a second market at náměstí Republiky as well as ones at upper Wenceslas Square and at Prague Castle run by other operators. Several more locally oriented markets can be found in neighborhoods throughout the city.

Visitors can shop at 79 sales stands on Old Town Square, 25 on lower Wenceslas Square, and 19 on náměstí Republiky. Vendors will offer mainly Christmas goods and Czech handicraft products. Traditional mulled wine from Chateau Valtice will be served along with other hot beverages.

Stand with holiday gifts. Photo: Taiko.
Stand with holiday gifts. Photo: Taiko.

Christmas dishes include hot chestnuts, gingerbread, roasted almonds, and sweets as well as classic Czech sausages, grilled chicken, pork knuckles, chicken skewers, and jerk grilled chicken in a bun. Christmas carp will be available at náměstí Republiky from Dec. 18 to 24.

Stalls will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The bridge in the central part of Old Town Square will be closed to the public only on the night of New Year's Eve to New Year's Day from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.

A place for relaxation and holiday spirit

“The world has changed a lot in the two years when the biggest Christmas markets could not take place. We therefore want to go the way of offering people rest and relaxation in difficult times and contribute to a better mood. We hope that they will come to have a good beverage and listen to children's choirs in the beautiful Old Town Square,” Libor Votruba, board chairman of Taiko, said in a press release.

Prague City Councilor Jan Chabr said that a year ago, on the eve of the start of the Christmas markets, the then-government suddenly banned the markets due to Covid restrictions.

“I firmly believe that we will finally spend a ‘normal’ pre-Christmas period,” he said, adding that he wished everyone peace, quiet, and many moments spent in the company of loved ones during the Christmas holidays.

Take a picture with an angel

The decorations at the Christmas markets in the city center reflect the times – focusing on simplicity, yet still respecting the traditional spirit of Prague. All the lights will be in warm white, complemented by stars. Some decor will be in the traditional colors of Prague: red and gold.

Old Town Square will be guarded by five large angels, ranging in size from four to six meters. Two will act as photopoints. Visitors can take pictures in the arms of the angel's wings or while walking through the angel's body. Two angels with wings will decorate the viewing bridge and one will symbolically light a candle on the Christmas tree. The nativity scene will be next to the Marian Column.

Holiday tree has an hourly music and light show

This year’s Old Town Square spruce tree came from the village of Kytlice-Mlýny in the Ústí nad Labem region. The 58-year-old tree reached a height of 25 meters. The Wenceslas Square spruce, which reached 15 meters, came from the same area. Both trees are decorated with globes and stars.

Old Town Square tree from a previous year. Photo: Taiko.
Old Town Square tree from a previous year. Photo: Taiko.

The Old Town Square spruce will offer a light animation every hour at half past from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Two melodies, “Alžbětínská serenáda” (Elizabethan Serenade) performed by Karel Gott and an orchestral version of “All I Want for Christmas is You,” will alternate. The spruce on Wenceslas Square will not have animation.

A total of 8,922 kilometers of cables with 88,490 LED bulbs will light up the tree on Old Town Square. They use less than 5 kW, which corresponds to CZK 40 per hour. The tree will be lit from 4 p.m. to midnight, so the energy will cost CZK 320 per day.

Daily entertainment program

The Old Town Square stage will offer 3,000 performers. Folklore, ethnographic, dance, and children's groups will come from the Czech Republic, Latvia, Holland, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Germany, and other places.

On the market’s first day, visitors can meet the creators of the new Czech film “Vánoční příběh” (A Christmas Story) and singer Václav Noid Bárta will perform on stage.

There is a special program planned for the early evening of Dec. 5, when Svatý Mikuláš comes with an angel and devil. Krampus, the evil demon who captures bad children and takes them away in a sack, should also turn up.

A young person with devil horns on Dec. 5. Photo: Taiko.
A young person with devil horns on Dec. 5. Photo: Taiko.

Carp soup and traditional Czech music for Christmas

On the morning of Dec. 24, carp soup will be served for free to anyone who wants some. Later in the day, the Czech Christmas mass “Hej mistře!” will be performed by a 100-piece orchestra. Arias from Czech operas will be performed by Czech and international soloists on New Year’s Day

Children's workshops will welcome young visitors every Saturday and Sunday morning from 11 a.m. Children can make small Christmas cards and gifts.

News and updates about the Christmas markets on Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square are available on the market's website and on Facebook.

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