Dresden, unthinkable without Striezelmarkt and Christstollen

Categories: Family and Kids, Sightseeing, Cultural and History, Shopping, Entertainment

Christstollen, step by step
Christstollen, step by step

[ source: Wikipedia]

A valley of the River Elbe is the location of Dresden (Dresden vacation rentals | Dresden travel guide) in Saxony. It has seen many changes in the past but never lost its roots and traditions. Today's visitors will once again discover the splendor of this ancient city and the changes that converted Dresden into a vibrant modern city. One of Germany's well known and biggest Christmas markets takes place in Dresden and the story of the Christstollen, the famous Christmas cake or bread, has the same Christian roots woven into a centuries old story. Families are very welcomed and this festive market has a lot in store to make a visit enchanting and unforgettable.

The original Dresdner Christstollen is a kind of pastry made of a heavy yeast dough. Starting on 10 kilograms of flour, add at least 3 kilograms of butter or margarine and about 6 kilograms of dried fruits, such as raisins, currants or sultana, and candied lemon- and orange peel. The Christstollen belongs to the group of image-breads meaning that they display specific motives or forms. In this case it is symbolic for the newborn Christ Child, wrapped in white cloths. Cultural historians and scientists found evidence that Christstollen were made in Naumburg (Naumburg vacation rentals | Naumburg travel guide) an der Saale around the year 1330, but it is believed that the primal Stollen came from an oven in Saxony. Documents found in Dresden confirm that bakers produced it since the year 1400 and it is still baked the same way then 700 years ago. For centuries up to 1913 Dresdner Christstollen were given as a tribute by Dresden's baker to the Saxon sovereigns. 2 Stollen, each 36 meter long, with a weight of 36 pounds, were delivered on each second Christmas day to the castle.

The installation of the Dresden Striezelmarkt in the year 1434 made the Christollen famous far beyond Saxony. Striezel is in fact the name for a pastry leading to the Christstollen we still know today. Back in the old days nobody would have dared to call it just a cake, only rich people and the aristocracy could afford such an expensive treat and it was commonly regarded as the king under the cakes and pastries. This year, on the 26th of November, the 575th Striezelmarkt Dresden will open its doors to the public. As every year it will be held on the Altmarkt, in the heart of the historical city center and a 24 meter high and 80 years old Christmas tree, illuminated by 620 lights, will stand at its usual place. Not only the numerous culinary delicacies and wonderful shopping opportunities including local crafts and goods will once again draw visitors from near and far, but also an outstanding Christmas program for young and old is planned for this year.

On the 2nd weekend, you've guessed it, the Christstollen-Festival takes place. A Stollen, weighing about 4 tons, will be transported in a pageant to the Christmas market, cut with a 1.6 meter long knife and the pieces then sold to the public. On the 3rd weekend the Striezelmarkt-Pyramid will be on display. It is made of wood, 14 meters high and displays 42 different wooden characters. It is listed in the Guinness Book of records as the largest step pyramid of the world. A curiosity found on the annual Dresden Striezelmarkt is the Pflaumentoffel. It is a character reminding of a chimney sweeper and made of wooden sticks and dried prunes. The historical background lies in the 17th century when orphans had to climb through the chimneys of the houses of the rich in order to clean them. In the 19th century it were those Striezel-children who sold their hand made Pflaumentoffel on the Christmas markets in Saxony. Those dark days of child labor are long forgotten and nowadays the Pflaumentoffel is a welcomed souvenir to take home from the Striezelmarkt in Dresden.

About this Article

Monika Petra

This travel guide has been written by Monika Petra.

In her own words: When children are born they receive certain gifts to put them to good use or not. In my cradle there must have been at least music and the curiosity for the world we live in. Luckily I could combine those gifts eventually. My live as a jazz vocalist guided me to see and experience many places in Germany and far beyond. As in my music I like to dive in the historical background of given facts, simply to understand the present. During my travel, my circles got wider and wider and since many years I am now living in Thailand, very interesting to say the least. I grew up in Paderborn, lived and studied Jazz in Cologne's Musikhochschule and worked a while in Bayreuth and Kulmbach. My travels throughout Germany took me to all major cities and small towns. It was the people and local differences, be it language, food, traditions and customs, which made it a lot of fun. When finally the wall came down, I was one of those in Berlin posing on the rests of it for the camera. Off course I took the first opportunity to rediscover the new but old states of Germany and finally understood the impact the wall had on all Germans and in regards to the worst part in German history. Being a German living abroad, I discovered in years what I value most about Germany. Rest assured it is a country of rich cultural background still alive today. I visit my home country regularly and stay in touch with my friends, even those back from school. Another thing I always felt passionate about is writing and sharing my experience and thoughts. The internet provides us all with a great opportunity to connect, tell stories, read and learn from others and grow as a global community.

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Location, Map, and Driving Directions

Location: Altmarkt, 01067 Dresden, Germany

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Opening Hours

This year's Striezelmarkt will take place starting 11/26 until 12/24/2009.

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Striezelmarkt Dresden


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