Christmas markets

Friday, 2 December 2011 - 02:32 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Berlin, London, New York City, Paris / Île-de-France, Shopping
Reading Time:  4 minutes

Frankfurt, Germany © Suburbi

Frankfurt, Germany © Suburbi

The history of Christmas markets goes back to the Late Middle Ages in the German speaking part of Europe. The Dresden Christmas market, first held in 1434, is one of the oldest Christmas markets. It attracts between 1.5 and 2 million visitors a year and has over 250 stalls. The Bautzen Christmas market was even older, first being mentioned in records in 1384. The Vienna December market was a kind of forerunner of the Christmas market and dates back to 1294.

In many towns in Germany and Austria, Advent is usually ushered in with the opening of the Christmas market or “Weihnachtsmarkt”. In southern Germany and Austria it is sometimes called a “Christkind(e)l(s)markt” (German language, literally meaning “Christ child market”). Generally held in the town square and adjacent pedestrian zones, the market sells food, drink, and seasonal items from open-air stalls, accompanied by traditional singing and dancing. On opening nights (and in some towns more often) onlookers welcome the “Christkind”, or boy Jesus, acted out by a local child.

Famous Christmas markets are held in the cities of Dortmund, Erfurt, Nuremberg, Dresden, Stuttgart and Augsburg making them popular tourist attractions. The Nuremberg and Dresden markets draw about two million people each year; the Stuttgart market attracts more than three million visitors and the Dortmund market can claim one of the biggest Christmas markets in Germany, with over 300 stalls packed around a gigantic Christmas tree creation that stands 45 metres tall.

Striezelmarkt in Dresden © LH DD/Dittrich/cc-by-sa-3.0 Lübeck Christmas Market © Robert Barten Hamburg Christmas Market © flickr.com - Pedro/cc-by-2.0 Brunswick Christmas Market © Igge/cc-by-sa-3.0 Palestinian Christian Scouts Church of Nativity in Bethlehem in Palestine on Christmas Eve © Darko Tepert/cc-by-sa-2.5 New York City Christmas Market at Union Square © Deror avi Vienna Christmas Market © Manfred Werner Toulouse Christmas Market © David Monniaux Strasbourg Christmas Market © Corradox Sibiu Christmas Market © Andreidragan Rapperwil Christmas Market © Roland.zh Prague Christmas Market © Hynek Moravec Nuremberg Christmas Market © Roland Berger Munich Christmas Market © Richard Huber Metz Christmas Market © tourisme.mairie-metz.fr - Christian Legay/Marc Royer Meran Christmas Market © Kaufleute-Aktiv Lincoln Christmas Market (UK) © Jpacarter Joensuu Christmas Market © Purskainen Jena Christmas Market © flickr com - ReneS Erfurt Christmas Market © Michael Sander Cologne Christmas Market on bord of MS Wappen von Köln © Rolf Heinrich Chicago Christmas Market © DR04 Budapest Christmas Market © John Bremen Christmas Market © Corradox Bozen Christmas Market © Skafa Berlin Christmas Market © Clouha Frankfurt, Germany © Suburbi
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Palestinian Christian Scouts Church of Nativity in Bethlehem in Palestine on Christmas Eve © Darko Tepert/cc-by-sa-2.5
Strasbourg, in Alsace, France, has been holding a Christmas market, “Christkindelsmärik,” around its cathedral since 1570, when it was part of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation. Christmas markets are traditional in Alsace and most of the towns have their local Christmas market.

In 1982 Lincoln, England established an annual Christmas market in early December, and this remains the most extensive such market by area in the United Kingdom, with a claimed total of over 300 stalls attracting more than 100,000 visitors over its four days. Large Christmas markets are also held in England in Leeds and Birmingham, with visiting traders from Frankfurt. The Birmingham Christmas Market was the largest in the UK in 2009 attracting over 2.8 million visitors over four weeks. Liverpool, Glasgow, Manchester, and Nottingham also hold similar markets; with Manchester having around 200 stalls in 2007, attracting nearly 1.2 million visitors over five weeks.

German immigrants also brought the Christmas market celebrations to the United States.

Since 2007, a traditional Christmas market is held for the first time in Sibiu, Romania. The first of its kind in Romania, it is inspired by Viennese Christmas markets.

Read more on Wikivoyage Christmas markets and Wikipedia Christmas Market. A short overview about Christmas Markets around the world you can find here christmasmarkets.com and here Wikipedia List of Christmas Markets. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organisations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.


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