Pecs, Hungary – You’ve been anxiously waiting for it, and the results are in! The winner of this year’s European Tree of the Year Award was announced a few days ago.
And the title goes to Hungary! Or to be more precise: the Almond Tree of the Snowy Hills, located in the city of Pecs, has just won the European Tree of the Year Award 2019, arguably the most prestigious prize that, well, trees can hope to receive in their lifetime. The winner was announced during a ceremony in Brussels on Tuesday, held under the patronage of EU Commissioner for the Environment Karmenu Vella.
“We have been watching the breathtaking encounter among 15 countries across Europe. In the end, we received more than 311.000 valid votes. This shows that Europeans are very concerned about the diversity of their natural heritage and its protection”, said Josef Jary from the Environmental Partnership Association, who organizes the competition.
Located in front of the Church of Our Lady of the Snow in Pecs, this magnificent, awe-inspiring 135-year-old tree is “a Hungarian symbol of eternal renewal and education since Bishop Janus Pannonius wrote his poem about an almond tree in 1466”. Set in “a magical landscape”, the tree has attracted visitors for over a century.
The race wasn’t easy, and the suspense lasted until the very last minute, as Hungary’s bid was only second place last week, behind its Russian nemesis. But it ultimately secured the beautiful victory of being recognized the tree with the most interesting story in Europe. This is the fourth time Hungary wins the award in the only nine-year history of the contest, making it by far the most decorated nation.
This beautiful specimen managed to win over the hearts of over 45.000 people who voted for it. Pecs’ Almond Tree is followed by the Abramtsevo Oak in Russia (second place with 39.5000 votes) and the Secular Holm Oak from Portugal (third with 32.600 votes).
The Czech Republic‘s Lime tree of Liberty finishes at a commendable fifth place, followed by the very curiously-shaped Kneeling tree of Poland. Slovakia‘s contender finished at the 8th place, with 15.400 votes in its favour.