Vienna, a city known for its Christmas markets and New Year’s concert, is cutting public lights due to soaring energy prices.

“This year, there will be no Christmas illuminations on the Ring”, the famous boulevard that surrounds the center of the Austrian capital, city spokeswoman Roberta Kraft told AFP.

And the lights at the Christmas tree fair on the square in front of the city hall will be turned on only at night, and not at dusk, as in previous years, “that is, every day an hour later on average.” she said.

City officials said they had not calculated exactly how much they would save, but the move came after energy prices skyrocketed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its response to Western sanctions.

Last Friday, the Austrian Energy Agency announced that its electricity price index rose by more than 256 percent in September compared to the same period last year.

Austria, with a population of nine million, is highly dependent on tourism, and its end-of-year celebrations are a major driver of the economy.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic halted much international travel, more than four million people visited Vienna’s famous Christmas markets in 2019.

In 2021, about 30 shopping streets in Vienna were illuminated for seven hours a day from November 12 to early January.

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