Prague's 2023 Christmas tree is on its way to Old Town Square

A 24-meter tall, 50-year-old spruce was cut down in Liberec on Saturday and will now become the centerpiece of Prague's Christmas market.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 26.11.2023 09:59:00 (updated on 26.11.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

A 24-meter spruce was felled on Saturday in the Czech Republic's Liberec region ahead of becoming the centerpiece of Prague's Old Town Square Christmas market later this week. This giant tree, which will measure about 22 meters after alterations, will be the tallest to grace the Christmas market in recent years.

The spruce, chosen for its grandeur, is a product of about five decades of growth in a private garden in Pertoltice pod Ralskem. It was sourced from the Hledá se strom (Looking for a Tree) competition, in which private citizens submit candidates to grace the country's biggest Christmas market.

The decision to cut down the fifty-year-old spruce, owned by Radek Lupoměský, was not made lightly. Lupoměský, who has witnessed the tree's growth over the past ten years, emphasized safety concerns as his primary motivation. Fearful of the tree endangering his family during storms, the homeowner opted for its removal.

"I was sorry to chop him down [...] but I thought to myself that he was beautiful and that he could still make people happy in Prague or somewhere else," Lupoměský, who donated the CZK 10,000 award for the tree to a local home for senior citizens, told Czech News Agency.

The felling was a brief affair conducted with precision by Technologie Hlavního města Prahy (Technology of the City of Prague, or THMP). The sight of a crane lifting the giant spruce from its roots loomed over Pertoltice, attracting onlookers to witness the symbolic event.

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The spruce, likely planted in the early 1970s, holds sentimental value, associated with the birth of a child in the family that owned the land at the time. Despite Lupoměský's initial plan to decorate and illuminate the spruce, the high cost of ornaments prevented his realization of this vision.

Tomáš Jílek, chairman of the board of directors of THMP, highlighted the spruce's remarkable stature. After its felling, the tree weighed an impressive 4.7 tons, with approximately 200 kilograms removed during the processing of the lower trunk.

The logistical challenge of transporting the giant spruce from Pertoltice to Prague was carefully planned. Tied to a clearance height of 4.3 meters, the tree's journey involved carrying it under bridges along a route planned months in advance. Accompanied by a crane, the spruce set forth to Prague-Kbely for storage after it was felled before its grand entrance at Old Town Square on Tuesday night.

As part of Prague's Christmas festivities, the spruce will be adorned with 50 lit-up stars, 342 Christmas balls, and 8.5 kilometers of string lights. Lit daily from the beginning of Advent until the Feast of the Three Kings, the Pertoltice spruce will bring festive cheer to Old Town Square for locals and visitors alike. The inaugural tree-lighting ceremony will take place on Saturday, December 2.

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