Prague Christmas Market

Prague Christmas markets already have their most prominent feature. Every year is chosen very adorable and burly tree, after careful and considered selection from the Czech Republic. The best Christmas market is on the Old Town Square, in the picture below.

Prague Christmas Market
Prague Christmas Market on the Old Town Square

When and where you can visit Prague Christmas Markets

The beginning of the Christmas markets in Prague is started by lighting a giant Christmas tree on the Old Town Square; a spectacular event always held last weekend in November. Christmas markets in Old Town Square then persists until 1 January. Immediately they weigh the Three Kings celebration that ends with a 6 January.

Prague Christmas Market Tree Lighting

Festive Christmas tree lighting starts every last weekend in November. It is always a great glory, which is also attended by many locals - not just tourists. It's a big stunt, and you have to be there!

Prague Christmas Lighting
Prague Christmas Lighting

At the same time, the markets are starting on Wenceslas Square, there to remain until the 12th January.
Christmas atmosphere induces also "Náměstí Míru" (Peace Square) in Prague 2 disctrict, where they are until Christmas Eve, the 24 of December. The same situation is on "Tylovo náměstí" Tyl's Square, Prague 2 district.

Prague Christmas markets are opening daily from 10.00 am to 19.00 pm.

How to get to the Old town square?

If you stay in a hotel in Prague 1, Christmas markets are within walking distance. If not, the best way is by metro or tram. Nearest subway station is "Staroměstská," the green line "A." It is about 200 meters away. After leaving the station, turn to the street Kaprova (google street view here) and go straight, to the east. The closest tram stop is also "Staroměstská," and it is provided by trams number 17, 18 and at night tram no. 53. Here search your public transport trip. If you go directly from the airport, you can find additional information there about how to get to Prague city center.

The history of Prague Christmas Markets

The Christmas markets have a long tradition. If you think of Christmas markets, the cities that automatically come to mind and where you can visit Christmas markets and enjoy the atmosphere are probably Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

This event that suggests that Christmas is at hand started in Prague in the 19th century of the Prague Christmas market. At this time, the people of Prague embark shopping or at least walk around and see what the sellers in the markets offer. It is interesting that when we read the memories of the contemporaries that have been published, everyone remembers the most magical Christmas markets.

The range of products ware naturally focused on these holidays. But since the markets take place throughout Advent, there were also figures of St. Nicholas, small devils and, of course, toys.

The atmosphere of the Prague Christmas market then enriched by fairground attractions, there used to be singers who showed the horrific scenes illustrating the songs stories. There was also shooting, puppeteers' kennels and knightly games. The atmosphere of the square is manifested by the light of burning oil or kerosene lamps. The Christmas market climaxed with the upcoming Christmas Eve.

Into the snowy and freezing Prague, many wealthy people were sledding from the countryside. The Prague cabmen and coachmen swapped cars for a sled, and everywhere you could hear the tinkling of bells.

In the Advent period are not only markets. Since the 18th century, the time associated with a tradition of charitable events. For example for the display of nativity scenes outside the temple premises, a portion of the money the people paid went to the charity. Another exciting event was the New Year's apology papers.

This tradition originated in the times of the highest burgrave, count Chotek. He had so many well-wishers, that he was not able to meet them all and thus the 1920's he started to send New Year congratulations with an apology for his not arriving.

The Crib

The first crib appeared in 1223 in the Italian Umbria, when Francis of Assisi brought a live donkey and an ox manger which served as the altar during the Christmas mass. The custom of building Nativity scenes in the Czech Lands started with the Jesuits which is a bit ironic, given how big an infamy they gained during the Battle of White Mountain. The Jesuits used the nativity scenes from 16 century as a means of recanalization.

The crib at the Old Town Square - Prague
The crib at the Old Town Square - Prague

St. Francis of Assisi, dressed in deacon’s vestments, (it is told that out of humility he never attempted to become a priest) sang the Gospel. Then he preached a delightful sermon to the people. It is recorded that after the Mass, St. Francis of Assisi went to the crib and stretched out his arms as though the Holy Child was there, and brought into being by the intensity of his devotion, the Babe appeared and the empty manger filled with the radiance of the newborn King.

St. Francis of Assisi idea of bringing Bethlehem into one's town spread quickly all over the Christian world, and soon there were Christmas cribs in churches and homes.
The Moravian Germans brought this custom to the United States. They called it Putz. The oldest known picture is a “Nativity scene” dating from about 380 that was a wall decoration in a Christian family’s burial chamber, discovered in the Roman catacombs of St. Sebastian in 1877.

Christmas Tree

The first Christmas tree was brought to Prague in 1812 by the Estates Theatre Director Karl Liebich.
On Christmas Eve he invited the company to his villa on the top of Čertův hill in Libeň, where at midnight to the sounds of Christmas music, he showed to the guests, as a surprise, a decorated fir with burning candles and gifts hanging on it. The next Christmas a fir graced many of the Prague apartments and salons.

At this year's Christmas markets on the Peace square will also be presented many Czech civic associations which will occupy three stands. We can mention, an organization like The Way Home, The Association for Helping Children with Disabilities, Shamanka, The Nepalis, Impuls and many others. The Prague people may by buying their products support a good cause and help to those who did not have much luck in life, at least not as the others.

What you can see

The visitors may visit 20 typical Christmas stalls with assortment such as the:

  • old Czech trdelník
  • pancakes
  • homemade Christmas cookies
  • dried fruits
  • honey
  • gingerbread
  • cheese specialties
  • British and Balkan delicacies
  • Christmas decorations
  • retro toys
  • small gift items       

And that all is possible while enjoying the smell or taste of food and mulled wine, as well as the Christmas punch. The Christmas markets on Tyl's Square begin on the second December and last until the Christmas Eve.

Children's Activities at the Christmas Markets

Children will naturally find the lights and the general ambiance of the Christmas Markets a great delight. But there are also some activities just for them.

Next to the Bethlehem scene and the animals stable (described above) is a long wooden cabin where a kids workshop runs inside. Children can participate in making Christmas decorations and watch puppet theatre (shows are in Czech, but are still entertaining for visitors).

  • Bethlehem scene and animals - Old Town Square: Daily 10:00 - 22:00.
  • Children's Wooden Cabin - Old Town Square: Monday - Friday 15:00 - 19:00. Saturday - Sunday 10:00 - 19:00. (Except: 24 of Dec. 10:00 - 15:00. 25-26 of Dec. 12:00 - 19:00.)
  • Puppet Theatre - Old Town Square: Monday - Friday at 17:00. Saturday - Sunday 15:00 & 17:00. (Except 24 of Dec. 14:00. 25-26 of Dec. 17:00.)
Your motivation video
This nice video is from YouTube channel ThroughGreenEyes