Europe's famous Christmas markets fall victim to COVID-19

A Christmas tree illuminates the Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020.
A Christmas tree illuminates the Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020. Copyright Petr David Josek/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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In Germany, France, Belgium, and the Czech Republic, Christmas markets have been an iconic part of the festive season. Then COVID-19 hit.


Christmas markets, a cherished tradition in Germany and neighbouring countries, seem set to fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic.

They're one of the most iconic features of the holiday season in the region - crowded squares where people gather at market stalls for hot mulled wine, gingerbread, sausages, and other delicacies.

But this year they're likely to resemble nothing more than deserted town squares.

Dresden's sprawling, bustling Christkindlesmarkt, one of Germany's best-known holiday markets and traditionally a big tourist draw, was called off weeks ago.

Markets across the country including in Frankfurt, Dortmund, and many in Berlin have suffered the same fate, with authorities cancelling the events or organisers concluding that it didn't make sense to push ahead with their plans.

Some Berlin residents said they were disappointed but accepted that public health had to come first.

"Yes it's a pity that the general Christmas feeling gets lost a little bit but I think that in such exceptional situations measures have to be taken and I find them appropriate," said Sarah Glaubscher, a Berlin resident.

Over the border in France, the roughly 300 stalls of Strasbourg's popular Christmas market won't go up this year, and it's the same story in Brussels.

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