I promise I’ll stop writing about Christmas markets soon. It’s March, after all.
I’ve covered the Christmas markets in Frankfurt, Bad Homburg, Heidelberg, and Brussels. Today, I’m writing about the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt. (And there’s just one more after this — until this coming Christmas season, that is.)
The Nuremberg Christmas market claims to be one of the oldest in Germany — dating back to the 16th century. While the tradition of Saint Nicholas Day (December 6) is still celebrated as a holiday gift-giving tradition in many parts of Germany, during the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther popularized the Christkind, or Christ Child, as the bearer of gifts on Christmas Eve in an attempt to move away from the celebration of Catholic saints and feast days.
In different parts of Germany today, children anticipate gifts from Saint Nicholas, Christkind, or the Weihnachtsmann (or sometimes, according to my former German instructor, all three).
Kail, Piopio, my in-laws, and I visited the Nuremberg Christmas market the weekend before Christmas. As such, what’s normally a 2.5-hour drive took closer to 4 hours, with all the holiday traffic heading out of town.
The Nuremberg market is fairly large, with a few unique features compared to the other markets we visited in Germany. First: Instead of traditional bratwurst sandwiches, many stalls featured Nuremberg sausage sandwiches. Nuremberg sausages are smaller (closer to the size of an American breakfast sausage link) and seasoned differently than bratwurst.
Secondly, the market features a Christmas market of Nuremberg’s sister cities, which include Atlanta, Glasgow, and other places, featuring food, crafts, and other merchandise.
Another neat future of Nuremberg that isn’t unique to the Christmas market is the Männleinlaufen, or mechanical clock tower, set atop the Frauenkirche, which comes to life at noon everyday.
And of course, the market featured the usual array of vendors, glühwein stalls, and rides for Piopio (he got to go on the train and carousel). There was also a large Deutsche Bahn display that he enjoyed.
Other than the Christmas market, we also checked out the Nuremberg Spielzeugmuseum, or toy museum. It was an impressive museum — not just for children, but for adults — featuring historical toys ranging from dollhouses to stuffed animals to trains, along with lots of hands-on displays and play areas for kids.
Overall, it made for a great day trip (and, fortunately, took much less time on the return drive to Frankfurt).
Does your hometown have “sister cities” (and do you know what they are)?