Find Unique Gifts in the Christmas Market of Nuremberg

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Nuremberg Market

Christmas is magical nearly anywhere you might be, but the magic is extra special at the Christkindlesmarkt (Christmas Market) in Nuremberg, Germany. This market has been held (with the exception of 1939-1947), since the early 1600's.

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So with all that tradition and at a location straight out of a fairytale, you're taken back to a time when Christmas didn't involve gruelling hours in malls, spending far too much money, or looking for the latest hi-tech games or gadgets.

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Location, Layout & Events

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    The Christmas Market is located in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg, in the Hauptmakt or main market square between the Schoener Brunnen (Beautiful Fountain) and the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady).
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    The enticing aromas of roasted almonds, Lebkuchen (gingerbread), Nurnberger sausages, glügwein (mulled wine), other delectable Christmas treats and music from the band located near the Crib draw more than two millions visitors annually to this delightful Christmas event.
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    Fondly known by the locals as "the little town of wood and cloth" because the nearly 200 wooden stalls are decorated with cheerful red and white cloth, garlands of fresh greenery and lights.
    Each year, the stall holders compete to see whose Christmas hut is the most beautifully decorated. The winner receives a "Zwetschgenmännchen", a traditional figurine made from dried plums or figs and sometimes nuts.
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    Around the corner from the Christmas Market is the Kinderweihnacht or Children's Christmas Market.
    Here kids will find lots of things to do in child-sized huts, such as Christmas cookie baking, candle making, a glass workshop, handicraft workshops and other activities. Kids can ride the historic steam-powered carousel, Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round and steam train. Santa Claus is there to listen to what each child wants for Christmas and to have photos taken with them. The Christmas Angel visits this children's market every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
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    Other countries from the USA to China and sister cities also have stalls close to the Children's Christmas Market.
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    The Nuremberg Christkind or Christmas Angel opens her market on the Friday before the first Advent Sunday.
    This year it begins on the Friday, Nov. 29 and runs until Christmas Eve. Opening hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sundays 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Christmas Eve, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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    One of the most popular events during the Christmas Market happens on Dec.
    9, when 1500 school children carrying lanterns parade up to Castle Hill through the Old Town. When they get there, the Nativity story is told.
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The Nuremberg Christkind or Christmas Angel

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    A young woman between the ages of 16-18 is chosen once every two years to be the Nuremberg Christkind.
    Dressed in her crown and golden white dress, she opens the Market from the gallery of the Frauenkirche or the Church of Our Lady by reciting a prologue for the festivities.
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    The Prologue was written in 1948, and with only a few changes, has remained the same ever since.
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Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, people of all ages, each of you who rests today but works again tomorrow. Everyone enjoy the night and forget about your sorrow and listen here, to what the Christkind has to say!

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Every year, during the season we decorate the tree and remember the reason to meet on this plaza, as in years past to cherish the tradition brought from Nuremberg to last.

Christkindlmarket - This little town of wooden huts which brings along lovely smells of gingerbread and roasted nuts the lights will shortly fade away, but the glow is always here to stay, as long as Philadelphia does exist, as long as you remember it.

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Look at the sight of this Old Town: High buildings rise - fortresses of modern times, look at this plaza - the many faces and in them shines: Philadelphia of the people.

The last month of the year has come and thus the night when wishes are fulfilled and joy in sight. The market's lights shine brightly to illuminate the way where families gather from near and far away, but one last thing - please keep in mind: It's those in need who tell what it means to be kind.

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You men and women, who once yourselves were children, be them again today, happy as children be, and now the Christ Child to its market calls, and all who come are truly welcome.

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    After this the Christkind, the decades-old symbol of the Christkindlesmark, visits the Christkindlesmark and the Children's Christmas Market many times during the duration of the Market, plus she makes more than 170 appearances at various charitable institutions, kindergartens, hospitals, as well as homes for disabled and elderly patients.
    On Christmas Eve, she fulfills her most important role, that of bringing presents to children in the Nuremberg Children's Hospital.
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    She is an ambassador for the city, doing lots of TV and radio interviews.
    Her primary role throughout this festive period is to bring joy, warmth and hope to people, especially to those who are less fortunate.
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What to Buy

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    The 200 plus stalls in this charming market offer traditional items such as Lebkuchen (gingerbread biscuits), marzipan fruits and figures, sweet baked goods, roasted Nuremberger sausages (bratwurst), candles, Christmas tree ornaments, tree angels, local arts and crafts such as cribs and toys.
    To warm yourself, you'll find many stalls that serve Glühwein (mulled wine) and mulled juice for the kids.
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    Nuremberger Plum People or "Zwetschgenmännchen", little figures made from dried plums, figs, nuts and scrapes of material, are a favorite souvenir for many people.
    These date back to the 1600's and were probably brought to Germany from Croatia during the Thirty Years War. During the Christmas holidays, they were put in Windows facing outward to protect the household.
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    The organizers of this event keep a watchful eye on all the goods vendors sell.
    No one is allowed to offer plastic, mass produced stuff. This Christmas market represents all things German, and the organizers work hard to keep everything traditional.
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What Else to See & Do

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    Nuremberg is an ancient city that has a long history, so there are lots of things to see and do besides the Christkindlesmark.
    Because the Christmas Market is in the center of the city, you'll get to see the beautiful architecture, most of which was restored, using the original bricks and stone, after having been heavily bombed during WWII.
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    Surrounding the market square are wonderful half-timbered medieval buildings.
    The Frauenkirche or the Church of Our Lady is certainly worth a visit as is the Schoener Brunnen or Beautiful Fountain. The 60 foot high Schoener Brunnen is where, for over 600 years, people have turned the brass ring to make their wishes come true. Be sure to look at all the other fountains in the Square as well.
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    There is lots of wonderful food available at the Christmas Market, however if you need to thaw out your frozen feet and hands, make a visit to one of the quaint inns around the Square.
    Then, there is the house of Albrecht Dürer, a renaissance man, and one of Nuremberg's most famous painters.
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    For those wanting to learn more about Nuremberg, Germany and the world at large, there are 43 museums in the city, including a Museum of Toys.
    Nuremberg Castle and the church of St. Lorenz offer visitors wonderful art, history and views of the city.
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Recipe for Glühwein or Mulled Wine

When the weather gets cold and Christmas is getting close, this traditional beverage is served all over Germany. You can buy Glühwein at the Nuremberg Christmas Market, but if you can't get there, why not try making this at home.

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Preparation

Cooking time: 50 minutes.

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    Ingredients:
     
    1. 1 70 cl bottle of red wine
    2. 3 oranges, sliced about ¼ inch thick
    3. 1 lemon, sliced about ¼ inch thick
    4. 8-10 whole cloves
    5. 4-6 cinnamon sticks (about 4 inches long)
    6. 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
    7. 2-3 star anise, whole
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    Directions:
     
    1. Put the red wine into a pot large enough to hold everything.
    2. Add the sugar and spices. Stir while heating slowly; do not allow it to boil.
    3. Add the orange and lemon slices and simmer over a very low heat for 30-45 minutes.
    4. Taste, add more sugar if needed, strain and serve in warmed mugs or glasses, garnished with a cinnamon stick or an orange slice.
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    Options:
    There are many different recipes for Glühwein so you can always add other ingredients. Some people add rum or brandy (1 cup of either). Other spices such as nutmeg, cardamom, ginger or bay leaves can be added or substituted, as can tangerines, kumquats or limes.
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It's all up to your taste buds, so try it, and enjoy.

Questions and Answers

Which stall is the best place to buy gingerbread biscuits in Nuremberg?

A.-Ifri Schuhmann GmbH & Co. KG | Kreuzburger Str. 12 | 90471 Nürnberg | Tel: 0911 / 998020 | Fax: 0911 / 9980223 Currently on Stall 23 for year 2013

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Article Info

Categories : Travel & Leisure | Holidays & Traditions

Recent edits by: Rob, Richelle, Graeme

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