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German Christmas Markets

Posted December 04, 2017 11:15 AM by amichelen

We are about to start the 2017 holiday season, and I would like to talk about it. Since my childhood I have always enjoyed the beauty of these days: the scent of the Christmas tree in the living room of my house, the lights and the music that spreads all over the city, the camaraderie of the people and, of course, the presents.

This year my family and I will be spending the holidays in Germany and the Czech Republic. We will visit Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig and Prague. Germany is one of the countries that celebrates Christmas in an “old-fashioned” way with so many traditions. In particular I love to visit the Christmas markets. In Berlin alone there are over 60 markets ranging from the most traditional to the modern. In Munich, Frankfurt and other big cities there are many as well.

Dresden Striezelmarkt, Germany’s oldest market at the Altmarkt square. Source: www.dresden.de

However – maybe the CR4 community can tell me otherwise and correct me – the most beautiful Christmas markets are in Dresden, where we will spend most of our time. There are eleven completely different markets in the city, open from 10 am to 9 pm from November 29 to December 24.

Of these eleven, the market called Striezelmarkt is the oldest in Germany. In 1434, the elector Frederick II authorized the opening of the market to be held on the Altmarkt square. At that time the market was a meat market, where the townspeople could select the roast for their Christmas dinner. This year the Striezelmarkt celebrates its 583rd year of continuous operation in exactly the same location!

Source: www.dresden.de

Another beautiful and traditional Dresden market takes place in the square of the reconstructed Frauenkirche (church of Our Lady, in English). This church, along with many baroque buildings in the center of Dresden, were destroyed in February of 1945 during the two days of uninterrupted bombing by the Allies at the end of the World War II. For 50 years the ruins of the church were kept piled up for all to see as a war memorial. In 1994, after the reunification of Germany, a world effort started for the reconstruction of the church. In 2005 the final stone was put in place. The Christmas Market in the square of the Frauenkirche is visited by thousands of visitors every year.

The reconstructed Frauenkirche. Source: www.dresden.de

Aerial view of the Church of Our Lady. Source: Wikipedia

The market at the Frauenkirche square. Source: www.dresden.de

Another city we will visit is Leipzig. Here we will attend the Christmas Oratory of the St. Thomas Boys Choir, a choir created in 1212. The St. Thomas Church is the place where Johann Sebastian Bach spent the last 30 years of his life, where he was Thomas Cantor and where he is buried. I am looking forward to visiting the tomb of the greatest composer ever, and to listen to the boys choir.

Also in Leipzig, we will have dinner and some beers at the Auerbach's Keller (Auerbach’s Cellar, in English), a wine bar and restaurant dating back to 1438, and the place where a young Goethe ate and drank while studying in Leipzig. The Cellar is world famous because in one of the first scenes of Goethe’s play Faust the Cellar is where Mephistopheles takes Faust to make the famous deal.

Mephistopheles bewitching the students, sculptures at the Cellar's entrance. Source: Wikipedia.

Finally we will visit beautiful Prague. There is there also a festive environment during Christmas, including Christmas Markets as well. I will be happy to re-visit the coffee houses where Einstein, Kafka and other great people used to frequent and the Jewish cemetery where Kafka is buried.

Cheers to all! Let us all know about your holidays!

I leave you with this beautiful video about the Striezelmarkt:

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#1

Re: German Christmas Markets

12/04/2017 12:02 PM

The market in the area near the Gedächtniskirche in Berlin is well worth a visit if one is in that city at the time.

Closer to home, there is one this time of year in Brighton.

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#2
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/04/2017 1:37 PM

Thank you! I will be in Berlin during Christmas and I will visit this market.

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#3

Re: German Christmas Markets

12/04/2017 5:18 PM

There's also one downtown and another over by Wrigley Field.

With real Germans too!

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#4
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/04/2017 5:22 PM

When in Chicago on Christmas I will visit these markets.

Thanks.

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#5

Re: German Christmas Markets

12/04/2017 6:55 PM

There's quite a few, I've never been to any and have no desire to travel abroad, I guess I watch too much news....anyway....these look like what we have here in the US that we call flea markets...sort of like the classified ads for miscellaneous merchandise taken to a street vendor level....

https://www.europeanbestdestinations.com/christmas-markets/

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#6

Re: German Christmas Markets

12/04/2017 10:24 PM

I wish I could be at those festive Christmas markets. it is so traditional. As a child, growing up in New York City, Christmas was celebrated in a much more traditional way. We believed in Santa Claus and went to midnight mass on Christmas eve; after which we would open our presents. We had baseball gloves, electric train set and other traditional Christmas gifts. We would eat a traditional dinner. Those were gentler times and I reminisce about those good times. A trip to Macys, times square was an annual event not to miss. I can remember an entire floor dedicated to toys. It was decorated with electric train layouts and erector set ferris wheels. For a child, it was a memorable experience. I went to Macys about 30 years ago and all of that is gone. A small part of the floor now devoted to the typical toys of the era now goes pretty much unnoticed. The window decorations were something to see. We would then walk to Rockefeller Plaza to see the tree and watch the ice skaters. Christmas music would be playing. I don't know if Christmas music is still being played. May not be "political correct" these days as it might offend someone. At least I still have my memories of times gone by. I wish my children and grand children could have experienced it.

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#7
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/05/2017 2:17 AM

Shame no consideration is given to those 'offended' by the removal of traditions that reflect the real celebration - the birth of Jesus.

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#8
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/05/2017 9:20 AM

Outside Germany and Austria, the largest German Christmas market is in Birmingham UK. This is in partnership with the city of Frankfurt, and features a stall offering an unusual frankfurter - a half-meter (19.7") of wurst in a rather shorter bun.

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#9
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/05/2017 10:03 AM

I feel the same. Many things have been lost. However, I still do many of the activities you mention with my family: midnight mass on Dec. 24, Christmas dinner after mass and opening of the presents afterward.

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#10
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/05/2017 10:08 AM

I'd love to see it someday.

I am sure, together with the giant Frankfurter, there are lots of good German and British beer!

I like the Frankfurters, but the Turinga wurst is my favorite.

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#11
In reply to #7

Re: German Christmas Markets

12/05/2017 10:14 AM

Even though Jesus was probably not born on Dec. 25, it is still appropriate to celebrate His birth!

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#12
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/05/2017 10:21 AM

Hark the herald angels roar:

"Christ was born in BC 4".

Which is probably more accurate historically than AD 1

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#13
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/05/2017 11:26 AM

I too fondly remember the Christmas activities of 70 or so years ago, but I'll disagree on one point: at midnight, I want to be asleep!

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#14
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/05/2017 11:29 AM

Come on! It is only one night of the year!

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#15

Re: German Christmas Markets

12/05/2017 11:36 AM

Interested in German Christmas markets ? Rick Steve's show on PBS offers many videos ( YouTube ) to watch or purchase. Someday, I would like to go there.

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#16
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/05/2017 11:47 AM

Thanks! Great contribution to the blog.

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#17
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/05/2017 7:35 PM

Great idea! It's a high energy place to be in the middle of downtown. Fun items. Nice food. The one by Wrigley is new. They've been developing the area outside the field. Must be less crazy than the downtown market.

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#18
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/06/2017 2:12 AM

Love it!

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#19
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/07/2017 10:56 AM

It is funny how in Germany the wurst can be the best. LOL!

Kudos to Germany for really knowing how to celebrate Christmas in the present (time).

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#20
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/07/2017 11:52 AM

Yes, they know how to celebrate Christmas!

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#21

Re: German Christmas Markets

12/08/2017 3:32 PM

German authorities have recently requested that foreign visitors stay away from any Christmas markets in some small villages because they do not have the manpower to protect the public from terrorists.

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#22
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/10/2017 10:16 PM

Please tell me you're joking!

Preventative based on what?

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#23
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/11/2017 7:22 AM

In invoking that request, the locals get a higher risk of exposure than those from overseas. Where's the logic in that (rhetorical question - NNTR)?

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#24
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/12/2017 9:31 AM

I agree! The mandate does not make any sense. The majority of attendees to Christmas Markets are locals. A Small percentage are tourists.

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#25
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/12/2017 9:43 AM

If locals, then who is responsible for the noted attacks at these Markets, locals or tourists? Oh snap! I meant terrorists.

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#26
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/12/2017 9:44 AM

I think the premise is that no local is a terrorist. It follows that therefore a terrorist must be a foreigner. Ban all foreigners and you don't get terrorists.

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#27
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/12/2017 9:53 AM

This logic does not make sense. Locals can be terrorists.

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#28
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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/12/2017 2:35 PM

There's nothing wrong with the logic, but, as you say, the premise may not be true.

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Re: German Christmas Markets

12/12/2017 2:43 PM

If we are not "standing on the premises", it is hard to make an appropriate risk assessment.

Used to be an Old Southern Baptist Hymn: "Standing on the Promises".

I twisted up the lyrics into a new smoke for you, hope you enjoy.

A former generation would have shot them all, sort them out later, but thank God that was another generation, far away, and long ago now.

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