In past years, December used to be a very busy month for Prague. Christmas in Prague is a special time. But due to the COVID-19 virus, things have changed. Luckily, visitors are still able the Czech capital and enjoy this holiday season.
Prague has a lot to offer. There are many options for holiday shopping. The historic city is popular for travelers to experience bustling Christmas markets. Hence, enjoy picture-perfect backdrop of Gothic towers, softly glowing gas lamps, and the scent of mulled wine permeating frosty air.
What can you expect this year? Definitely a more low-key, authentic holiday season. As a result, Christmas in Prague this year will see the city will forego the famous Christmas market in Old Town Square. But the historic square still looks stunning. First, there is a the imposing Christmas tree. This year. it’s decorated in the national colors of white, red and blue.
Another notable vertical presence in the square is an old-new monument – the Marian column. This impressive 50-ft-tall sandstone pillar is topped by a sculpture of the Virgin Mary. The pillar is a faithful replica of a Baroque original. It graced the very same spot from 1650 until 1918, when it was destroyed. As result, the column was re-erected in the square in August of 2020. As a result, it adds an undeniable, visual appeal to this historic space.
Christmas proper will be celebrated between December 24-26. The evening of December 24 is the main event. Be treated to a festive family meal, followed by gathering around the Christmas tree. Next wrap presents and consuming copious amounts of Christmas sweets. Simply fun and yum!
Although large Christmas markets will not be found, other themed markets, farmers’ markets and single stalls are open. This provides a less showy, but more locally appealing alternative. Therefore, expect a more intimate, Christmas in Prague.
If you are looking for quality gifts made and sold by local designers and artisans, you are in luck. They range from jewelry to fashion to homewares and toys. Shoppers can flock to the popular Dyzajnmarket fair. It is held over two December weekends at the Výstaviště complex in Prague 7. Another option is the smaller Lemarket Christmas pop-up, held this year. It can be visited on the top floor of the Máj department store.
The restaurants and cafés in Prague have reduced their seating capacity to half. The will continue to sell food from windows and via delivery services. On a chilly winter’s day, treat yourself to mulled wine, hot chocolate and cinnamon-scented funnel cake. In addition, try roasted ham and other street foods. These items are still easily available, despite the absence of market stalls.
Czechs are definitely obsessed with Christmas cookies. During Christmas in Prague, they spend much of December busily baking and decorating. Plus, they look for perfect vanilla crescents, bear paws, linzer cookies, gingerbread, and many more.
Locally bred carp has been on the Czech Christmas menu for more than a century. Many urban Czechs make the switch to more exotic and less bony fish. But fried carp with a rich, flavorful potato salad remains the iconic Czech Christmas meal. During the the week before Christmas, locals are treated to culinary tradition. They line up in front of vats filled with live carp, brought in from the countryside. They look forward to purchasing a fresh fish to cook for Christmas dinner.
The undisputed culinary hit of this year’s holiday season is a novel dessert created by pâtissier Olga Budnik. She owns the Black Madonna café in the Old Town. This striking dessert, a chocolate globe covered with the telltale spikes of a coronavirus. It’s made of white chocolate and dried raspberries. It is fittingly named “Virus.”
Please note that Prague’s many monuments, museums and galleries are still open. Unfortunately at a reduced capacity. We want to highlight two exhibitions that merit attention. Rembrandt: Portrait of a Man, at the Kinský Palace branch of the National Gallery, is a fascinating probe into Rembrandt’s portrait art. It offers visitors to view many loans from the world’s most prestigious public and private collections. Not to be missed.
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