Brno, Czech Republic – It’s official: the most beautiful, intriguing and loveable tree in Europe comes from the Czech Republic. For the first time in this annual prize’s 10-year history, the Czech contender has won the coveted European Tree of the Award.
The ‘Guardian of the Flooded Village’ is a 350-year-old Scot pine, located in the Vysocina valley, on the rocky headland of the Vír dam overlooking the village of Chudobin flooded in the 1950s.
Thanks to its majestic stature, awe-inspiring setting, intriguing folk legend – the Devil himself is said to be sitting beneath its branches, source of the tree’s supernatural powers – and incredible endurance – it survived the 1955 flooding of the nearby village – the Czech Guardian received more than 47,000 votes, crushing all the rest of the competition by a large margin, including Croatia’s ‘Gingko from Daruvar’ (28,000 votes, 2nd place) and Russia’s ‘Lonely Poplar’ (27,000, 3rd).
You can learn more about this natural Czech gem in this promotional video:
“Over the centuries, it has grown in size, becoming a dominant feature in the valley landscape. Local people soon began to associate it with their legends. And thanks to its majestic position on a sharp rock overlooking the river, it quickly came to be seen as the guardian of the valley”.
Hungary’s ‘Freedom Tree in Kaposvar’ comes at the 8th position with over 16,000 votes, ahead of Slovakia’s ‘Precious Sorb Tree’ (13,500 votes, 10th) and Poland’s ‘Elderberry Tree’ (11,700 votes, 12th).
This is the second year in a row a tree from Central Europe wins the contest: in 2019, Hungary won the top prize for the fourth time with the breath-taking ‘Almond Tree of the Snowy Hills’ in the city of Pecs.
First launched in 2011, the European Tree of the Year Award selects “trees with the most interesting stories” by popular vote. This year, the competition attracted more than 285,000 ballots across Europe. The award ceremony, usually held in Brussels, was eventually called off due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Photo credit: Marek Olbrzymek