Little-village Brno comes together at Christmastime
Brno Christmas market review. Photo: @BrnoDaily
Brno, Dec 12 (BD) – They say that Brno is a little village. It may be the second biggest city in the Czech Republic; it may an international airport; it may have more than 80,000 university students; it may have an opera company, a ballet company and a lively arts community; but, when it comes down to it, regardless of how many people live and work in Brno, you always seem to run into people that you know.
After a few trips through the Christmas markets, it is easy to see why it has this reputation.
Every time I walk through a Christmas market, I bump into someone who I know from various parts of my local life. Former students from years ago. Current students from that afternoon. Current colleagues. Former colleagues. Neighbors. Former neighbors. A guy I remember from the gym I used to go to a half-dozen years ago. A mother who has kids who attend the same exercise class as mine.
The last time I even ran into an American friend who I met on my very first day in Brno more than 11½ years ago. He was holding his nearly-2-year-old daughter and enjoying a performance on the stage in Namesti Svobody. We stopped. We talked. We reminisced. How time flies. How we have grown and matured. No longer new-to-the-city-guys-looking-for-another-beer; now fathers with homes and responsibilities.
The holiday season slows us down so that we can savor these kinds of contemplations. And a Christmas market is the perfect venue to reminisce.
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Not long ago, these Christmas markets were a bunch of mismatching stands filled with cheap trinkets, not unlike what you might find in the tunnel underneath the train station. The tree was often ridiculed for being spotty or slanted or both.
Now, the markets put a beautiful and festive face onto the city with wooden stalls and copious decorations. There are four big markets in Brno — náměstí Svobody, Zelený trh, Dominikánské náměstí and Moravské náměstí. Each has a different feel, but all exude a pleasant holiday atmosphere. The Christmas trees are big and lush and bursting with ornaments.
Food fills the markets with fragrance and clouds of smoke. The many cocktail stands make it feel like a big, outdoor cocktail party. And the various stands make it a perfect place to find that little present that will round off your list and make your friend/family/whoever happy. Candles. Wooden kitchen utensils. Christmas decorations. Winter clothing. All kinds of meat. There is something for everyone.
Whether you are a mother with some free time while your baby is asleep in the baby carriage; whether you are a group of colleagues looking for a quick teambuilding social event; or whether you want to catch up with an old friend for a couple hours and remember the old times, the holiday markets are a great place to meet, eat, drink and soak up the atmosphere.
The best way to enjoy the Christmas is to walk slowly, browse often at the interesting stands, and just let yourself go. Let the smells and the images linger. Listen to the sounds of bells and the festive entertainment up on stage.
And, most of all, get your Christmas shopping done!