Germany

 

Observations on the German People
By an Australian Writer

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CHRISTMAS MARKETS AND SHOPPING TOURS

Each year in the weeks before Christmas the scent of roasting almonds and mulled wine wafts through the streets and lanes of Germany's cities and everyone knows, it's time to buy gifts. Christmas and shopping go together as they have for centuries. In the past Christmas markets were designed above all else to sell goods. It is only recently that they have developed into tourist attractions. Every year at Advent (as early as the 5th century) merchants travelled to Dresden to sell their wares. This long tradition lives on in the Strietzelmarkt, named for the famous cake. Wooden items from the Erzgebirge are for sale at many stands.

The Augsburg Christmas Market also has its roots in the market activities of their forebears, who knew this event under the name "Lebkuchenmarkt." Christmas gingerbread was for sale in all sorts of variations. Visitors can still enjoy the tasty Lebkuchen – round or oblong, with or without frosting. Shops, department stores and restaurants are also prepared for the Christmas rush, offering an opportunity for visitors and locals to make a shopping tour ending with a glass of mulled wine.

The ‘Centre’ in Oberhausen has turned the historic development of the Christmas market head over heels. The outside area of the Centre will be turned into a pre-Christmas fairy-tale world from 17 November to 23 December. The shopping centre itself will be decorated with Christmas balls, lights and crystals. Some 200 businesses will offer a variety of original gift ideas. A special event is the ice-sculpture exhibition featuring international artists. Until the end of January, visitors can admire the figures, many feet tall, made of ice and snow. The art department store ‘k2h’ in Regensburg will open its doors from 18 November until 5 January. The idea of the "department store" is to make art easy to experience and to offer affordable prices. A visit is recommended not only for art fans and collectors, but also for anyone who is looking for something special to place under their Christmas tree.

THE MAGIC OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE

Visitors to Quedlinburg can experience "the magic of the Christmas tree" from 24 November until 8 January. Over many years, two elderly women collected so many Christmas decorations that 30 Christmas trees can be decorated in the style of various periods of history and different regions. They can be seen publicly for the first time.

 

CHRISTMAS MARKETS

Dates and locations of some Christmas and Christkindl Markets in Germany.

DORTMUND / 17.11 - 23.12

More than 300 stands. Crafts, decorations and toys.

MUNICH / 25.11 - 24.12

Christkindlmarkt on the Marienplatz -daily tinkering in the "Heavenly Workshop"

BERLIN / 21.11 - 24.12

Pre-Christmas atmosphere on the Alexanderplatz

NÜRNBERG / 25.11. - 24.12

Before the historic backdrop on the Nürnberg Hauptmarkt with the Frauenkirche and a view of the Gothic St. Lorenz and St. Sebald Churches in the Old Town

RÜDESHEIM / 21.11. - 23.12

120 stands from 12 countries in the romantic Old Town and on the world-famous Drosselgasse

BREMEN / 24.11. - 23.12

Around the City Hall and the World Cultural Heritage-listed Roland statue

FRANKFURT / 23.11. - 22.12

On the Römer, the Paulsplatz and the Mainkai

LEIPZIG / 24.11. - 22.12

The Christmas market will be enhanced by festive concerts of the Thomas Choir and organ music in the churches

HAMBURG / 21.11. - 23.12

The colourful Christmas market along the Ottenser Hauptstrasse is firmly established in the calendar of events

WIESBADEN / 22.11. – 23.12

Blue and gold and the golden lilies of the city's coat of arms are the decorative elements for the nostalgic crafts market

WEIMAR / 25.11. – 22.12

The City Hall will be turned into a huge Advent calendar - a window will be opened each day