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Germany Christmas Markets

The snow glistens with the array of coloured fairy lights. The smell of fresh gingerbread and grilled bratwurst wafts over the stalls. Carolers can be heard singing Christmas songs in the original German text.

The snow glistens with the array of coloured fairy lights. The smell of fresh gingerbread and grilled bratwurst wafts over the stalls. Carolers can be heard singing Christmas songs in the original German text. It is a winter wonderland where every stall is the perfect postcard. All German cities throughout the land, even small villages, hold their own traditional Christmas markets. Here is a sample of a few of the best.

Christ Child Market Nuremberg

Germany’s most famous Christmas market attracts about 2 million visitors every year. It takes place against the backdrop of the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) and the quaint Nuremberg gable houses and is well known for its strict selection of the Christ Child.

Since 1948 Nuremberg’s chosen Christ Child has ceremoniously opened the market; only girls from Nuremberg who are 16-19 years old and have a minimum height of 1.60 meters can be chosen by the citizens of Nuremberg to become the Christ Child. Despite what you may think, it’s quite an honour to be the Nuremberg Christ Child and she remains in office for two years, visiting kindergartens, old people’s homes and other social Nuremberg one, with the market officially opened by Nuremberg’s previous Christ Child.

The 190 stalls sell decorations, toys, knitwear, and a wide variety of arts and crafts. Be sure to sample local delicacies like Hutzelbrot (a kind of fruit bread), Zwetschgenmoh (prune men) and Nuremberg Lebkuchen (gingerbread).

http://www.nuernberg.de.

Rothenburg Christmas Market – Reiterlesmarkt

Rothenburg is one of Germany’s most romantic towns and the Christmas market here is postcard stuff, when the historic old town turns into a romantic and picturesque winter fairytale. Every year the Christmas market is opened by the ‘Reiterle’ (rider). Once regarded as horrifying and formerly a Germanic god, the Reiterle is nowadays considered a bringer of luck.

A highlight of this market is the Christmas Village, replete with snow-covered houses and towers decorated with hundreds of lights. The 40 stalls offer tea and spices, candles, glass balls and glassware, toys, gift items, jewellery and knitwear. Local specialties include white mulled wine (available at the Glocken-Stand), old fashioned Christmas cookies, glass balls, and ceramic Christmas mugs with a Rothenburg picture.

http://www.rothenburg.de Augsburg Christ Child Market

With humble beginnings as a gingerbread market in 1498, The Christ Child market of Augsburg, Bavaria’s third-largest city, is one of the most popular Christmas markets in Germany, playing host to over 1 million visitors. A giant Christmas tree towers above the market, with a backdrop of the renaissance city hall and the Perlach Tower. Traditionally, the market is opened by the mayor who carries a torch across the market to the life-sized nativity crib.

Memorable events include the angel parade at the city hall and tours by horse-drawn coaches. There are 142 stalls with gift items, children’s toys, figures for nativity cribs, Christmas decorations, mulled wine, grilled sausages, and gingerbread. There is also a special crafts Christmas market with workshops of gold and silversmiths, furriers, chandlers, bookbinders, and bakers at the St. Margareth’s Church.

http://www.augsburg-tourismus.de Dresden Striezelmarkt

The Dresden Striezelmarkt, first mentioned in a document in 1434, can lay claim to being Germany’s oldest Christmas market and the originator of the famous Stollen cake. Today’s Dresden Stollen Festival, which has been celebrated every year since 1994, reenacts the historical event of the giant stollen, with a 3,500 kilogram cake shown at the Dresden Zwinger. It is then cut with a 1.6 meter 16 kilogram knife and sold.

The 250 stalls offer traditional craft items such as woodcutting from the Erzgebirge and ceramic from Lausitz. Local specialities include Pulsnitzer Pfefferkuchen (a kind of gingerbread), Dresdner Pflaumentoffel (prune men), and Thüringer Bratwurst.

http://www.dresden.de/striezelmarkt Lübeck Christmas Market

The marzipan capital Lübeck, famous for its historic old town, has had a Christmas market at least since the year 1648. There has also been a crafts Christmas market since 1967. This market has a wonderful atmosphere because it takes place in the medieval Heiligen-Geist-Hospital. The sales stalls are in the festively decorated church hall, the small living quarters in the nave and in the cellar vaults.

Recent additions to the market include a maritime Christmas market and a Christmas fairytale forest, a small Christmas paradise for children. Toys, Christmas tree decorations, jewellery, glassware, and Christmas craft items are offered in the 120 stalls. Local specialties like marzipan, Baumkuchen (cake), Christstollen, chocolate candy, and gingerbread cater for the sweet tooth.

http://www.weihnachtsmarkt-luebeck.de Stuttgart Christmas Market

Over 300 years old and the biggest Christmas market in Europe. In former times, all kinds of potions, powders and pills were sold here. Now, it has a fairytale atmosphere, with the 200 stalls decorated with fir twigs, Christmas balls, angels and much more. The market is ceremoniously opened with a festive concert in the inner courtyard of the Old Castle. There is a fairyland for children at the Schlossplatz and an open-air ice-skating rink is set up in front of the castle.

Local specialties include Schupfnudeln (noodles), red sausages, and Christmas market mugs. There are nostalgic children carousels, a Ferris wheel, and a miniature train with a real steam engine that goes through a delightful snow landscape.

http://www.stuttgarter-weihnachtsmarkt.de For more information about all of Germany’s Christmas markets, visit http://www.germany-tourism.de and http://www.deutscher-weihnachtszauber.com.

Cam Jeffery

Cam'sHis first novel, The Bicycle Teacher, is now available under the Janus Books imprint and can be ordered at www.amazon.co.uk