10 reasons to visit the Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg's Christmas market

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Known and loved the world over

Every year more than 2 million visitors, including many tourists from around the world, stroll across the Christkindlesmarkt - the main Christmas market in the heart of Nuremberg. The gothic Frauenkirche church from the 14th century lends the perfect backdrop to the festive atmosphere. The 2018 market opened on November 30 and remains open to visitors until the December 24.

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Centuries of festive cheer

Christmas decorations, candies, toys and of course mulled wine: more than 200 traders are represented in the market stalls. Always popular and a big seller are products typical for Nuremberg. The Christkindlesmarkt has been in existence since 1628, as evidenced by an inscription in a wooden gift box where the "Kindles-Markt" is mentioned, making it one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany.

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Master of ceremonies is the 'Christ Child'

Christkindlesmarkt could be translated word for word as "Christ Child Market" – and it is this child, played by a young woman dressed in white and gold, with curly blond hair and a tall golden crown, who opens the market with a prologue speech from the balcony of the Frauenkirche church every year. It is thought this ceremony was created by the National Socialists in 1933.

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Glittering symbol

The symbol for the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg is the Rauschgoldengel or gold foil angel - a popular Christmas tree decoration. According to legend the angel created by a Nuremberg doll maker during the Thirty Years’ War, who, as his daughter lay dying of a fever, heard the flutter of angel’s wings. Originally the gold foil angels were made of wafer-thin brass rather than foil.

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Sausage fun

What would a Christmas market be without food stalls? A typical local specialty, but loved internationally, is the Nuremberg Bratwurst. It's only as long as a finger and fits perfectly into a bread roll. They are traditionally served as "Drei in an Weggla" which means "three in a bun". The sausages are protected and only those made within the city can call themselves "Nürnberger Rostbratwurst".

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Snack attacks

Following a sausage feast how about something sweet? Big and small or even square, with lots of almonds, nuts and honey - that's how Nuremberg 'Lebkuchen' gingerbread is made – and has been for 600 years. It is thought that Lebkuchen was invented by monks in the German region of Franconia in the 13th century, as indicated in the thin wafer base known as an Oblaten.

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Dried fruit souvenirs

Dried plums as arms and legs, a tummy made of dried figs and a walnut for a head – this is how the Zwetschgenmännle prune men are made. These typical figures are made to look like pastors, devils, gnomes or like here musicians – there are 350 varieties. The prune men, which are not fit for eating, are best suited as souvenirs – apparently they'll keep up to 50 years.

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Take a ride on a horse-drawn carriage

Those who are tired of walking around – the market is 5,000 square meters – can just hop on the stage-coach. Horse-drawn market tours have been a popular attraction since 1950. The coach is a 1939 replica of an original stage-coach model from 1874. It is an affordable pleasure as adults pay 4 euro (4.25 $) and children 2.50 euro.

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Gift ideas from around the world

Right next to the Christmas Market, the Market of the Sister Cities dispenses an international flair. At this market products from Nuremberg's twin towns are sold - like coffee from Nicaragua, pate from Nice in southern France, icons from Greece and much more from far away countries. How about getting a tartan Scottish tie from Glasgow?

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Festive free rides

On the Hans-Sachs-Platz behind the Christkindlesmarkt is where you find the Children's Christmas Market. Here the kids can make candles, have fun making cookies in a Christmas bakery and, of course, taking a ride on a nostalgic merry-go-round. Four times a week the Christ Child calls by and treats everyone a free ride on the merry-go-round.

Now is the time of Christmas markets. In Germany there are some 2,500 - ranging from trashy to romantic. The Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg is very traditional.

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German News Service