Weihnachtsmarkt (7) – Nürnberg

Nürnberg (English: Nuremberg) is known for its Christmas market and the Nuremberg Bratwurst. The Christmas market here isn’t called “Weihnachtsmarkt” in German however, but “Christkindlesmarkt” which could mean “Christ Child market” in the Bavarian dialect. Being the largest market in Germany, it attracts around 2 million visitors every year. The city itself is also very interesting so if you aren’t especially into the touristy and crowded market, Nürnberg is still worth a visit any other time of the year.

Nuremberg
Nuremberg

Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt
Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆
Size: ★★★★★
Price: ★★☆☆☆
Diversity of goods: ★★★★☆
Link: Click here

Date visited: Dec 2, 2012

Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt
Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt
Frauenkirche, Church of Our Lady
Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)

The Nuremberg Christkind is an important symbol for the Christmas market. Instead of St. Nikolaus, this Christkind is the Christmas angel who is said to deliver gifts to children on Christmas Eve in traditional Nuremberg Lutheran families. Every year, a young girl plays the role of Christkind and opens the Christmas market on the balcony of the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). We had, sadly, missed this famous opening, which took place on the Friday before the first Sunday of Advent, that is, two days before our visit.

Christkindlesmarkt on the main market square
Christkindlesmarkt on the main market square

As one of the biggest markets of its kind, the Christkindlesmarkt has over 180 wooden booths selling all sorts of traditional goods. It’s located on the Hauptmarkt (Main Market Square) in front of the Frauenkirche in the old town. All the stands are neatly organized into a grid so it’s supposed to be easy to walk through the market. However, such famous market naturally attracts (too) many tourists from all over the world, so it can be very crowded and you might find yourself stuck in the middle of a crowd every five to ten steps.

Zwetschgenmännle - Nuremberg Prune Men.
Behold, here are the Zwetschgenmännle – Nuremberg Prune Men

One of the most traditional things you can find at the Christkindlesmarkt is the Zwetschgenmännle – prune men. As the name suggests, they’re little handmade figures made of prune and were invented by a Nuremberger. You can rarely see these lovely figures in other towns’ markets; but here, they are everywhere!

Besides the traditional prune men, there are also all kinds of Christmas-related goods, such as ornaments, toys and other gifts:

Christmas ornaments
Christmas ornaments
Teddy bears – this has to be my favorite booth!
Teddy bears – this has to be my favorite booth!
Animal puppets
Animal puppets
One of the bratwurst store in front of the St. Sebaldus Church.
One of the bratwurst store in front of the St. Sebaldus Church

The Nürnberger Rostbratwurst already existed in 1313 and is well-known in Germany (which I don’t understand why; I suppose taste in food is really subjective). The difference between a Nuremberg bratwurst and a normal bratwurst (by the way, a bratwurst is just a sausage. I used to think it’s like a hotdog (sausage + bun) but the sausage is grilled or pan fried (and according to my German friends, it’s way better) because it’s usually served in a bun) is that the Nuremberg one is thin and small, pork-based and seasoned with marjoram. In the Christkindlesmarkt, it’s not hard at all to find Nürnberger Rostbratwürste if you want to try this renowned treat. Usually you pay €2 to €3 for three bratwürste in a small bun, which is called a “Weggla”. We were so hungry that we didn’t bother to compare different stands’ prices and quality and simply ate at the booth closest to the entrance – a mistake. We were disappointed, but one of my friends tried another one from the bratwurst store in front of the St. Sebaldus Church and he said it was a lot better.

But Nuremberg has got more than just mini sausages – their Lebkuchen (gingerbread cookies) are equally famous. They come in different shapes and are sometimes coated in chocolate or frosting.

Treats in the Nuremberg Christmas market
Treats in the Nuremberg Christmas market
Nuremberg Lebkuchen
Nuremberg Lebkuchen
Warm baguettes
Warm baguettes

My favorite food is, however, warm baguette topped with tons of cheese and ham and tomatoes and whatever you can think of! The one I tried was €4 – good price in my opinion and it tasted extremely good, especially on a cold, snowy day.

Things in such a touristy market are naturally a bit more pricey, but the food doesn’t cost that much. The bratwurst we got was €3.50 and I also had some chocolate-coated strawberries (also €3.50) as well as a cup of hot chocolate (€2). We got 100g of Weihnachtsgebäck (Christmas cookies) for €2 only – not so expensive but they weren’t as good as those we have in Heidelberg.

Markt der Partnerstädte - Market of the Sister Cities
Markt der Partnerstädte (Market of the Sister Cities)

There is another smaller Christmas market just next to the main market, called “Markt der Partnerstädte” (Market of the Sister Cities). Booths from other cities from various countries, namely Turkey, USA, Ukraine, Thuringia, Scotland, Greece, Poland, France, Czech Republic, Nicaragua, China, Macedonia, Isreal, Rumania, Sri Lanka and italy, can be found in this small international market. Some of these booths don’t sell Christmas items at all – I imagine that’s because not all these countries (e.g. China) celebrate the holiday. Instead you can buy traditional decors and crafts here.

Booth of Krakau (Krakaw), Poland
Booth of Krakau (Krakaw), Poland
Sebalduskirche (St. Sebaldus Church) is right in front of the international market
Sebalduskirche (St. Sebaldus Church) is right in front of the international market

Writing this review makes me realize that I didn’t get to enjoy the market as much as I could have; perhaps it was merely the cold and the crowd. The city and the market have much to offer but it was a bit overwhelming. If you want to go next year, choose a week day and arrive earlier. Or skip the crowd and visit the historic town’s other famous sights when everyone else is flocking to the market!

Nürnberger Burg (Nuremberg Castle)
Nürnberger Burg (Nuremberg Castle)
Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge
Nürnberg Spielzeugmuseum – Toy Museum
Nürnberg Spielzeugmuseum – Toy Museum
St. Lawrence's Church, which looks exactly the same as St. Sebald Church from the side and on Google map
St. Lawrence’s Church, which looks exactly the same as St. Sebald Church from the side and on Google map
Nürnberg
Half-timbered houses in Nuremberg
Advertisements

One Comment Add yours

  1. Mllo says:

    It is quite good if our whole family can visit next time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s