Old Town Square’s Christmas tree will live on as furniture for a retirement home

Wood from Prague’s main holiday tree will be turned into tables and benches by a vocational school.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 07.01.2021 15:23:00 (updated on 08.01.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

The Christmas and New Year holiday season has ended with the arrival of Three Kings Day on Jan. 6. Employees of the municipal company Technologie hlavního města Prahy (THMP) have already started dismantling the Old Town Square tree, a process that will take several days.

At the same time, 1,100 holiday decorations in public lighting and 30 more Christmas trees will disappear from Prague’s streets.

Students of the Jarov Secondary Vocational School will make furniture for one of Prague’s social facilities from the spruce wood from the Old Town Square tree.

“In Prague, we like to follow tradition, but at the same time we emphasize care for greenery, ecology and sustainability. I therefore appreciate that the tree, which decorated the Old Town Square during the Christmas period, as in previous years, will not end up in a landfill or incinerator, but will be used to the last chip,” Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) said.

“We want to proceed similarly in the coming years. We will be happy to use the Christmas tree for similar beneficial purposes as was the case this year,” he added.

City Councilor Vít Šimral (Pirates), responsible for education, said it would be a great pity not to use such a mature tree. The 40-year old tree came from Kamenný Přívoz in the Prague-West district. The tree was going to be cut down soon anyway.

“We started communicating about its use with [school] director [Miloslav] Janeček before the holidays, and it was agreed that the provided wood can be processed for the elderly care home in Malešice, which is located near the Jarov Secondary Vocational School and is also a municipal organization. I am very happy about that, because the issue of ecology is crucial for us,” Šimral said.

hristmas holiday in city. Narrow street Old Town against illuminated Christmas tree. Prague, Czech Republic (iStock photo /
hristmas holiday in city. Narrow street Old Town against illuminated Christmas tree. Prague, Czech Republic (iStock photo / Chalabala)

The Old Town Square tree will be removed by two crews of THMP electricians.

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“First, with the help of forklifts, we take off the Christmas balls, stars and spikes, or about 350 decorations. Then there are six kilometers of light chains. The work will take two to three days,” THMP board chairman Tomáš Jílek said.

The removal of the tree itself will take place Jan. 11. “We will first hang the 18-meter spruce on a crane rope, loosen the anchor ropes and lay the tree on the ground. Lumberjacks will remove the branches and divide it into approximately four-meter logs, which we will take to a sawmill in Hostivař,” Jílek added.

The logs will be cut into planks, which will then dry at school. “Subsequently, our carpenters will make furniture out of it. Atypical wardrobes, bedside tables or garden benches, for example, are under consideration,” school director Janeček said.

Most of the Christmas decorations on Prague’s public lighting poles were last lit on Three Kings Day. THMP, which has been managing the country’s largest public lighting network for the third year, decorated the poles with a total of 400 light flakes, 230 bells, 200 stars and 60 comet or candle ornaments. The other roughly 200 ornaments were various chains and light curtains.

“Most of these Christmas decors will not light up tonight. We will turn them off and gradually remove them. On Friday, we will primarily dismantle the Christmas trees, and from Monday we will start uninstalling the decorations on public lighting. Given their number, it will take up most of January,” Jílek said.

Three Kings Day normally also marks the end of the holiday markets, but the main market at Old Town Square as well as most others were not held this year due to pandemic. A traditional charity collection took place online this year instead of in public, and the parade was not held.

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