Sight, sound, taste and smell – all the senses were buzzing as I wandered the Christmas Markets in Prague, soaking it all in! I couldn’t get enough – the Old Time Square in Prague was my drug – I was hooked.
Christmas markets go back to the late middle ages in Germanic countries – Dresden being the first in 1434. The markets are generally held in town squares, as is the case in Prague’s Old Town Square Market (Staroměstské náměstí). Wenceslas Square, once a horse market, is also home to one of Prague’s Christmas Markets, however my favourite by far was the Old Town Square – Wenceslas Square felt so much more commercial with the pedestrian walk surrounded by loud, trendy stores. It just didn’t have the same atmosphere.
Old Town Square
The dark gothic skyline was glowing from the lights radiating from the Christmas wonderland in the square. The lights twinkling in the evening light, the glow from the charcoal bbqs roasting chestnuts – a feast for the eyes. The smell of hot mulled wine (svařák), sausages sizzling on the bbqs and trudl0 – a cinnamon encrusted delight tantalizing the tastebuds – how could anyone resist? The centrepiece to all the sensory overload – a giant Christmas tree with sparkling lights cascading and dancing in the evening sky. The tree is shipped in from the Krkonose Mountains – must have been quite the sight to see that giant unloaded in the square.
The markets, which run from 4 Saturdays before advent to January 1st, were always busy. Throughout the square, little wooden huts, decorated and lit up in true Christmas fashion, sold goodies of all sorts to locals and tourists alike! Traditional craft and Christmas items were sold along side the hot wine and trudlo, pork products of all kinds – from a ham on a spit to sausages, and potatoes with ham and cheese (the ultimate in cold weather comfort food) to pancakes. A large stage next to giant Christmas tree was alive with music, entertaining the masses and spreading more Christmas cheer (hard to believe more cheer was even possible, and yet – every day, they managed to take it up a notch!)
Through the centre of the market, horse and carriages were ready to take you on the ultimate romantic view of the city, wrapped in blankets as the clippity-clop of the horses hooves rang out between the ancient buildings. For the kids – a live animal stable and an activity centre – there really is something for everyone at the Prague Christmas Markets. The market was like a dream – it was all I could do to soak it all in before leaving!