Old Town Square Christmas tree chosen

The Christmas markets open relatively late this year

The Christmas tree that will be the centerpiece of the Christmas market in Prague's Old Town Square has been chosen.

A tip for approximately 24-meter-tall spruce was given to the market organizing firm Taiko by a person who sends proposals regularly. The firm had been offering a reward of Kč 10,000 for a tip leading to a suitable tree. It was not disclosed whether the person got the reward.

Taiko looks for trees that are in danger of being cut down in the near future. This way, the impact of cutting down the tree is minimal as it was already destined to come down. The tree is also disposed of in an ecological way after the holiday season is over, usually by being turned into mulch and reused.

The selected tree grows in the open air near the Berounka river in Roztoky u Křivoklátu in the Rakovník district of Central Bohemia. The spruce is still waiting for a dendrological examination to confirm that the tree is suitable for use after being cut down.

A poor quality tree fell in Old Town Square in 2003, leading to the serious injury of a British tourist. A different firm ran the holiday market at the time. The risk of a similar incident makes it important that experts agree on the health and stability of the tree.

“Its owner needs to remove it because it has started to reach high voltage wires,” said Petr Hozák, Taiko's chief operating officer.

The Christmas tree will be cut on Sunday, Nov. 26. On the night of Nov. 27–28, the organizers will install it on Old Town Square.

Last year's Christmas tree came from Pecka in the Hradec Králové region. The 70-year-old was about 31 meters tall, some eight meters taller than the tree from Česká Lípa two years ago and seven meters taller than this year's tree.

The Christmas market at Old Town Square starts relatively late this year, on Dec. 2, due to the late start of Advent, and runs until Jan. 6, which is Three Kings Day, when Christmas is celebrated on the Orthodox calendar. The start of Advent changes every year and is the fourth Sunday before Christmas. The market in Old Town Square traditionally opens the day before.

For the past few years, there has been no single tree lighting ceremony for security and safety concerns. The crowds had been reaching such a size that there was the potential for accidents. The details of this year's opening day have not been disclosed yet but most likely will follow the same pattern or a program the repeats all day with the tree lighting up and doing dark again, set to recorded music. There should also be a program of daily entertainment on the square for the duration of the market. Carp soup should be served Dec. 24 during the day.

The market at Old Town Square is routinely ranked as one of the best in Europe.

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