After some compulsory-busy and hectic pre-Christmas days, Brita had taken the afternoon off to drive with us from Iphofen to Nuremberg to the world-wide known Christkindles Market.
Due to her experiences with the parking situation in the center of Nuremberg during the last years and also due to the announced weather change with falling temperatures and possible rain, it was obvious not to use the own car into the city center, but to use the offer of the Federal Railways especially since the Nuremberg Central Station is located right in the city center, not far from the Christkindles Market. By the Internet, we had found the departure times at the station of Iphofen, so we arrived there in a timely manner. After about 1 hour and relaxed ride in a really modern train we reached the Train Station of Nuremberg.
We passed through the station passage directly into the pedestrian zone of the city center. In addition to the festive lighting in the streets, the city wall and the fortress tower caught our eyes, which also prompted some initial inquiries into the history of Nuremberg's city center. In any case, there will be a tour of the old town of Nuremberg from our side in the coming year, but then hopefully at warmer temperatures. To visit the old town is much too cold in December. On the left and right side of the street there were the first Christmas decorated booths, which pointed to the Christkindles Market. We had already heard about the strong visitor crowds on one of the largest Christmas Markets in Germany, which undoubtedly includes the Christkindles Market and were now surprised that the streets were filled well, but not that extremely much crowded. Probably still too early in the day, the narrow streets between the market booths were still pleasant to pass. Statistics tell about two million visitors a year, including 7,000 affordable accommodation overnight stays in Nuremberg in Expedia.de by Japanese Christmas market visitors. The Japanese are the largest group of foreign tourists in the pre-Christmas season.
Nuremberg gingerbread - typical at Christkindles Market
The entire market square is equipped with about 180 wooden stalls, which have led to the nickname "small town of wood and cloth" of the Christkindles Market. According to many merchants who offer their goods for sale, there are delicacies such as Nuremberg gingerbread, fruit bread, mulled wine and logically Nuremberg Rostbratwürstchen, a very special type of spiced sausage, so there are on the other hand typical Christmas tree decorations from golden angel to glass ball. Of course, the "Nuremberg Zwetschgenmännla", kind of hand-made figures, are not missing. The traditional figures of dried plums are advertised with the slogan: "Looking at Moh who cannot annoy you".
Even if there are hardly any traditions from the time of origin of the Christkindles Market, one encounters the "past" everywhere. The oldest evidence of the market dates from 1628 in the form of a box made of softwood, on the bottom of which the following inscription can be read: "Regina Susanna Harßdörfferin of the Virgin Susanna Eleonora Erbsin send to Kindles Marck in 1628", which to see in the Germanic National Museum. But from the records of the town's history there is also the following comment from the year 1610 as "council remission" with reference to "confiscation of lewd articles" at Christmas time of the year. Whether this arrangement, however, refers to the Christkindles Market remains unclear. Most likely, the Nuremberg Christmas market has developed out of a weekly market, which has resulted from changed donation practices after the Reformation by Martin Luther. So far, it was St. Nicholas' Day, where gifts were distributed, and this day of the Merry Christmas changed more and more. A record from 1737 shows a list of 140 people from the circle of Nuremberg craftsmen, who were entitled to offer their products on the market.
After the war, the Christkindles Market was reopened for the first time in 1948, when the chief dramaturge of the theater, Friedrich Bröger, had written a prologue, which since that time has been spoken by the chosen Christ child for the opening. Initially two actresses were appointed to take on the role of the Christ child (from 1948 to 1960 Sofie Keeser, until 1968 Irene Brunner), it is now always girls from the city of Nuremberg, who must be between 16 and 19 years old and being elected from one committee in different Compilations, but ultimately by the population itself. The prologue is still spoken today by the Christ Child, who is musically accompanied by school choirs. A brass choir of the city participates in the solemn opening.
Christmas Story presented by hand-carved figures
At the center of the market is still the hand-crafted crib building made of hand-carved wooden beams covered with a thatched roof and decorated with the glowing poinsettia that retells the Christmas story. About 30 turned wooden figures, each about 50 centimeters in size, form the frame of the Christmas story, mainly in Frankish costumes, which is rounded off with the animal figures of sheep, camels, oxen and donkeys. The sculptor Max Renner had created the figures together with the painter Bertl Kuch, which goes back to a suggestion of city construction director Paul Seegy in 1934. In 1948, the reopening of the Christkindles Market, Renner and Kuch had restored all the figures again. The prologue to the opening is now somewhat modernized and ends with the following stanza:
Your lord and wife, who were once children,
Be it today, rejoice in your way.
The Christ Child invites to his market,
And whoever comes, he should be welcome.
Partner Towns join the Christkindles Market
With the expansion of the market in 1998, the Nuremberg twin towns were included in the Christkindles Market for the first time. Since then, the stands of the twin cities Antalya from Turkey, Atlanta from the USA, Kharkiv from Ukraine, Gera from Thuringia, Glasgow from Scotland, Kavala from Greece, Krakow from Poland, Nice from France, Prague from the Czech Republic, San Carlos from Nicaragua , Shenzhen from China, Skopje from Macedonia and Venice from Italy representing themselves in the market.
A year later, the Nuremberg Children's Christmas Market on Hans-Sachs-Platz was added to the expansion. Among other things, cribs of different eras are presented here, which have been preserved from history. A colorful program that calls for participation is also part of the Children's Christmas Market, so that candles are drawn, glass work is done, and Christmas cookies are baked. On the side there is a lot of music, theater and magic in the star house, in short a round program for the small ones.
Slowly the market area fills up more and more, despite the freezing cold. After a well-typical meal of sauerkraut with roast sausages, which was rounded off with a hearty mulled wine, we end our visit to the Christkindles Market in Nuremberg. Both size and rush for us seemed impersonal and overrun. But just the one who has experienced the visit can say that. It was interesting all the time.
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