Discover the holiday spirit all over the country
The holidays are always a special time, full of fun things to do and see. Why not take advantage of the Christmas events being held around the country to get out and explore a bit? Many of these festivals can be visited in a day, or at most an overnight stay may be required. Multi-task this year: discover a new Czech city or landmark, and get some Christmas shopping done as well.
Every year, Krivoklát castle(www.krivoklat.cz) hosts two weekends of Christmas festival fun. Explore the craft booths and see singing and theatre performance, right in the castle courtyard. The folk fun occurs on December 5-6 and December 12-13. For a similar experience, head to Loket (www.hradloket.cz) December 12-13. Curled up in the castle courtyard will be craftspeople selling their wares, as well as ongoing theatre performances. You can explore the castle as well. On December 19, head to Mnichovo Hradište (www.mnichovo-hradiste.cz) for a Christmas festival at their Zámek. The chateau in Sychrov (www.zamek-sychrov.cz) will be hosting an Advent market December 5-6. Again, traditional crafts and other goods, demonstrations and music.
Close to home, Karlštejn (www.obeckarlstejn.cz) will have a number of events going on throughout December. Every Sunday in Advent will see singing and dancing in the square, beginning on December 6 and repeating on the 13th and 20th. On December 20, you can participate in a special Christmas Mass and they’ll also be hosting a special Christmas concert on December 27.
Discover how someone’s ancestors celebrated Christmas by visiting the Wallachian Museum in Rožnov pod Radhoštem (www.vmp.cz). This is the largest and oldest open-air museum in Central Europe and on December 12 they’ll put on a Christmas Fair. In addition to the typical food and craft booths, you can see this living village in action by learning how they used to make goose down and watching other customs such as lead casting. Folk group performances happen throughout the day as well.
While the Wallachian Museum depicts typical life in a 16th century Wallachian village, the Museum of Southeast Moravia in Strážnice is another outdoor complex which focuses on folk culture. They are hosting Let’s Rejoice, Make Merry December 5-9. You can see villagers baking Christmas treats and craftspeople designing traditional straw dolls. The traditional buildings will be decorated in an old world style.
For another unique take on how things were done back in the day, head to Príbram. The Mining Museum (www.muzeum-pribram.cz) will decorate their reconstructed “typical miner’s house” on the premises as well as their underground Prokop tunnel. Here you can get familiar with how miners celebrated Christmas, as well as discover some unique folk crafts and other traditions. The fun runs December 7-18.
Advent is a special time in Ceský Krumlov (www.ckrumlov.info). On the first Sunday in Advent, there will be the traditional tree lighting ceremony. The second Sunday in Advent brings a concert of carols and signing, right under the tree, which will be happening again the last Sunday in Advent. Mid-month, children can take advantage of Ježíškova pošta (Father Christmas’ Post) to send off their Christmas wishes.
A live nativity scene will be performed in Telč (www.telc.eu) on December 19 and 20. Making nativity scenes has a long tradition in this country and if you want to see some of the best, and most intriguing, head to Trebechovice pod Orebem (www.betlem.cz) where you will find an entire museum devoted to them. The mechanical nativity scene here is more than 100 years old, and they have a gift shop, so don’t fear you’ll miss out on any gift-buying. If you want to really experience a nativity scene, head to the Museum in Jindruv Hradec (www.mjh.cz) which houses Krýza’s Crèche, the world’s largest mechanical folk-art nativity scene. Here, you are ushered into a special room, three-quarters of which is made up of the massive display. A roughly 15-minute show allows you to experience the beauty, and cleverness, of the creation.
Music-lovers should head to Karlovy Vary. The Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra (www.kso.cz) has put together two special Christmas-themed concerts. On December 8 and 9, take in Spirituals, Blues at Christmas, while on December 18 they’ll play a traditional Christmas concert.