Christmas Markets in Saxony

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Christmas Markets in Saxony
Christmas Markets in Saxony

[ source: Wikipedia]

Even though the Christmas markets in Bavaria might be considered more prominent, the Christmas markets in Saxony bear the honor of being the trendsetters for the rest of the markets all around Germany. The two oldest Christmas markets in Germany are located in this eastern state: Dresden (Dresden vacation rentals | Dresden travel guide) and Leipzig (Leipzig vacation rentals | Leipzig travel guide). The Dresden Striezelmarkt is considered the oldest Christmas market in all of Germany, and today it attracts over a million visitors from all around Saxony and other locations. However, the Striezelmarkt is not the only attraction that Saxony offers during the Christmas season. Read further for a few additional tips on what to visit if one is interest ed in the Christmas markets in Saxony.

Christmasmarket in Dresden

Dresden: Like many other larger Germany cities, Dresden is the site of a variety of Christmas markets at this point. One of the more unusual ones is the medieval Christmas market that is held in the Stallhof of the Dresden Castle. No music, no paper plates, no electric lights. Here by the flickering light of fires and lanterns, one can experience a taste of what Christmas might have been like during the Middle Ages. In the tents that are set up for this occasion, handworkers of various kinds demonstrate their crafts: smiths, potters, hat makers, stoneworkers, etc.

The Christmas market at the Neumarkt is one of the more recent additions to the Dresden Christmas scene. Unusually, this market, located near the Frauenkirche, focuses on the time period between 1830 and 1920 with a special concentration on the turn of the century. The more irregular arrangement of the stands and the materials and colors used on them are all typical for this time period.

Christmasmarket in Meissen (Meissen vacation rentals | Meissen travel guide)

Meissen: At the name of Meissen, many people immediately conjure up images of the city's "white gold" - porcelain. This lovely small city to the north of Dresden survived World War II relatively intact, and its architectural ensemble, set high on the banks of the Elbe River, is beautiful any time of year. During Advent, the city features Christmas exhibits at the city museum and fairy tale performances at the city theater. Besides its Christmas market, the Meissen city hall is transformed into a giant Advent calender every year. Surprises are hidden behind 24 windows and are revealed every day by the opening of yet another window. Goerlitz: As some may know, the eastern part of Saxony was intricately tied to the history of two long-vanished states, Silesia and Bohemia. Goerlitz is proud of its Silesian past, and has found a way to link it to its Christmas traditions. The Christkindlmarkt in Goerlitz prominently features traditions and music from Silesia and Bohemia. This small city has one of Germany's finest collection of Renaissance-era buildings, and a visit here at Christmastime would be memorable for anyone interested in the history of the eastern German states.

Christmasmarket in Chemnitz (Chemnitz vacation rentals | Chemnitz travel guide)

Chemnitz: Chemnitz's Christmas market provides a window into the Christmas traditions and images linked to western Saxony, specifically the Erzgebirge. With over 230 stands, the Chemnitz Christmas market is arranged as an Erzgebirge wonderland. The market also features a medieval section for those interested in this more distant time period. During the Advent period, Chemnitz also hosts a parade for the Erzgebirge mining societies. Over 900 costumed participants and mining musicians process through the town on this occasion. As a further nod to the significance of the Erzgebirge to this region, the Chemnitz city hall hosts the Days of Erzgebirge Folklore during Advent with over 40 artisans and exhibitors featuring the traditions and handcrafts of this mountain area.

The Christmas markets in Saxony offer a rich array of experiences linked to the history and traditions of this state. Just be sure to pick up a piece of the famed Dresden stollen before you head home!

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About this Article

Rachel Hildebrandt

This travel guide has been written by Rachel Hildebrandt.

Starting with her first trip to Germany at the age of 16, Rachel has traveled, worked, and studied in Germany extensively. Although her first encounter with German culture was in Lower Saxony, since that time the focus of her subsequent work as a freelance historian and translator has shifted eastward. Building on her graduate studies in Dresden, Rachel has worked for a variety of German foundations as a historian and translator, and is currently pursuing research pertaining to the Sorbs in Lusatia (eastern Saxony).

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Location, Map, and Driving Directions

Location: Dresden, Leipzig, Germany

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