Christmas, the most amazing time of the year is just around the corner. It’s a magical and unique season, which fills even the most skeptical hearts with hope. I love all this hustle, when beautiful scents of just prepared dishes start coming from the kitchen. I also love this season for its wonderful decorations, which introduce us to a cheerful, festive mood and make the time of awaiting for Jesus Christ, as well as moments spent in the circle of family and friends much more pleasant. For quite a while, I really wanted to visit Christmas markets outside of my country, still remembering truly charming atmosphere of the ones taking place in Vienna. This year I’ve managed to visit a few Christmas markets, not only in Dresden, but also the ones in Meissen and Bautzen.
The Christmas Markets in Dresden
Being in Dresden the visitors have an exceptional occasion not only to see the city, which is believed to be the Baroque Pearl, Florence on the Elbe – rich in many interesting stories, but also a few amazing markets, which will enthrall you for sure with their richness and fascinating frenzy of colors. Dresdner Striezelmarkt is the largest and the oldest market in Dresden. It was first organized in 1434 and it’s popular with tourist until this day. One can find there hundreds of stalls offering various amazing things, from Christmas ornaments to other typical for this region goods. The name of this place ‘Striezelmarkt’ is not coincidental and has its roots in the Middle Ages, when a ‘Christmas loaf’ was very popular thus quite frequently served at that particular time of the year. Besides the typical of this place stalls, there are also a few carousels, the nativity scene and the Christmas pyramid.
Dresden is a place, which can offer a little bit more than just one big market. While strolling along the city one can come across a few smaller groups of booths. It’s really worth dropping by the medieval Christmas market in the Stallhof, where one can travel back in time and see old-time furriers, shoemakers or street musicians. The air is filled there not only with the scents of various dishes, but also with the medieval music, which allows tourists to feel the contemporary atmosphere even better. On the stalls one can find traditional goods, made to resemble the old-world medieval times. An interesting fact is that the visitors need to pay the entrance fee to enter the market, the entrance ticket and stamp are valid during the whole day. The tickets are ‘punched’ by medieval knights with the use of a large lance.
The Christmas markets wouldn’t be real Christmas markets without mulled wine, regional dishes and sweets. On cold winter days one cannot resist hot punch, mulled wine and chocolate with a chosen type of alcohol. Other specialties are so called bratwurst and currywurst popular throughout Germany. Some other interesting delicacies include hot mushrooms served with different types of sauce. Many stalls also offer Christmas loaves, fruit covered with chocolate or colorful gingerbread cookies.
Being in Dresden one should also visit:
- The Old Town,
- The Opera House,
- The Zwinger Palace,
- The Old Masters Picture Gallery and The Green Vault.
The Christmas Markets in Meissen
Meissen is the next place which is really worth being visited if one has the opportunity to be in Eastern Germany. The Christmas market is held there on the main square, which is a wonderful background for all of these colorful stalls and decorations, and always an eye-catcher for the tourists. The town hall is well visible above the stalls, the building is supposed to resemble one of the advent calendars. Every day one of the windows is open, each window symbolizes the passing time and the upcoming Christmas. The market itself isn’t very big, but one can find there everything what is typical for this particular place. The stalls offer different kinds of products, from Christmas ornaments to traditional Saxon treats.
Visiting Meissen one cannot forget about the first European Porcelain Manufactory, which will be for sure interesting for the cup lovers, but also for the ones who like all sorts of figurines, which can be a real decoration for home.
The Christmas Markets in Bautzen
At the very end of my stay in Germany I had a chance to see beautiful markets in Bautzen, including Wenzelsmarkt, which is the oldest Christmas Market in Germany. Its name comes from the name of Czech King Wenzel IV, who allowed to organize such a gathering in 1384 for the first time. On the stalls one can find beautiful handicrafts, even the porcelain produced in Poland, namely in Bolesławiec. Besides this the air was filled with wonderful scents, which didn’t allow the visitors to stay indifferent towards surrounding them treats. Charming street illuminations added a special character to this place, which is really worth being visited if you have a chance to be nearby.
Bautzen also offers other attractions such as:
- The Ortenburg Castle,
- The Old Town together with St. Peter’s Cathedral,
- The Town Hall,
- The Cloth Hall and The Witch’s House.
Watching the Christmas movies made me willing to experience all this colorful festive atmosphere, which I knew only from the silver screen. I’m really happy that being an adult I can travel freely not only in my homeland, but also in the whole Europe. And you? Do you have your favorite Christmas markets?
See you around!