Nuremberg’s ‘Christkindlesmarkt’ is one of the oldest and most famous Christmas market all over the world. Germany, in any case, is renowned for its spectacular Christmas markets but the Nuremberg market takes the cake. This market boasts a history that stretches back to a couple of centuries, for instance the first known official record of the market was in 1628. A list of stallholders from 1737 shows that best efforts were made to ensure that all of Nuremberg’s craftsmen were represented at the Christkindlesmarkt. Even back then there were as many as 140 stalls, today that number has exceeded to over 200.
The Christkindlesmarkt is at its most romantic in the evening when it is beautifully lit and the light is reflected off the heritage buildings in the backdrop. It reminds one of a beautiful medieval style market, and it’s hard not to get swept away by the tide of conflicting emotions one feels here. Should you choose to visit the Nuremberg Christmas market, remember that it is extremely crowded over the weekends, so try and visit on a weekday. The market officially opens on the first Sunday of advent till Christmas Eve.
The streets of the city that lead up to this market are very elaborately decorated in gold and foil, and Christmas symbols such as the ‘Rauschgoldengel’ can be seen everywhere. These gold foil angels are dressed in foil dresses and are the symbol of Nuremberg city. Often they serve as tree topper ornaments and occupy the pride of place at the Christmas tree instead of the star of Bethlehem. The markets opens with an age-old custom that is uniquely delightful, a young girl dressed as a Rauschgoldengel referred to as Christkindle (Christ’s child) appears in the balcony of the Frauenkirche and recites the prologue.
This is followed by choirs joining into sing festive songs, it is said that this opening ceremony is virtually the same as what it was centuries ago. The Nuremberg Christmas market specializes in selling Christmas toys and is particularly sought after for all the delicacies it sells. The beautifully decorated stalls hold food enough to feed and army of horses and yet miraculously it’s all polished off by the end of the evening. There are the local specialties such as Rostbratwürste (fried sausages), Lebkuchen (spicy gingerbread), Glühwein (mulled wine) and Früchtebrot (rich fruit loaf).
At the center of the market is the famous Nativity scene where many a visitors stop to take a look at its flawless artistry. The market hosts over 150 events during the 4 weeks that it stays there and the locals have loads of customs that they have woven around this tradition of Christkindlesmarkt. If you wish to visit, keep in mind that just like in the rest of Germany, punctuality is of utmost importance here too. So check the timings of the market before heading out.