Today, Cvent Blog is pleased to continue its festive features with the final installment of our 3-part series about German Christmas markets.
By the way, did you know that modern Christmas tree ornaments were invented in Strasbourg? At one time, nuts and fresh apples decorated the fir trees in Christmas markets and homes. In 1850, there was a shortage of apples after a drought. Local artisans created apples from hand blown glass for the Christmas trees in Strasbourg's Christkindelmarik.
Where can you find Christmas Markets in Europe?
Taking your team to Europe when the Christmas markets are in full swing will give them the opportunity to discover the origin of even more Christmas traditions. Here are a few of the places where you can find Christmas markets in Europe.
- Dresden: Established in 1434 and traditionally called the Striezelmarkt, one of the world's oldest Christmas markets also has the largest Christmas pyramid and the biggest nutcracker. The market is filled with traditional Christmas crafts, toys and decorations from nearby Erzgebirge, from where many Christmas markets obtain their wares.
- Frankfurt: During IMEX, I strolled through the Old Town where the annual Christmas market with over 200 stall takes place. Local treats include baked apples, apple wine, and Bethmannchen (made from marzipan). Groups timing visits for December 1st will be rewarded with the electrifying sound of bells from 10 church towers ringing in the start of the Advent season.
- Mainz: The Christmas market is in the historical district's market square in front of the over 1,000 years old St. Martin Cathedral. There is a life-sized, hand-carved wooden creche at Romanesque St. Gotthard's chapel next to the cathedral.
- Vienna: While Wiener Christkindlmarkt at Rathausplatz is the largest of Vienna's over a dozen Christmas markets, Altwiener Christkindlmarkt on Freyung dating back to 1772, is the oldest. In addition to traditional Christmas market favorites, Altwiener Christkindlmarkt has morning puppet shows and 4:30 Christmas concerts daily.
Strasbourg: Christkindelmarik evolved from the Klausenmarik or "Saint Nicholas Market" in Alsace during the Middle Ages.
In 1570, the city re-named the fair to honor the Christkindel (Baby Jesus) and Strasbourg has held its annual Christmas market ever since. (In fact, the city now has 12 Christmas markets.)
Christkindelmarik was moved to Place Broglie in 1870 where it is still held today. The architecture reflects the fact that this area was originally German (see top photo).
Basel: Weihnachtsmarkte, Switzerland's largest and most traditional Christmas market, runs from November 22 - December 23 in the Old Town. It has 180 stalls and over 100 Christmas trees create an enchanting, fairy tale ambiance.
Gstaad: Located in the Swiss Alps in the German speaking Canton of Bern, the Bavarian-style Litte Winter Market on the Kapalliplatz runs on select dates from December 21 until the end of February.
This means that there is still time to treat your team or clients to this delightful European tradition this season. It will definitely help them cross one more item off their bucket lists.
If your group can't make it to Europe this season, don't worry, this beautiful tradition is spreading. Consult 12 German Christmas Markets (Outside Germany) to find a Christmas market near you.
To learn more about Christmas markets, check out the Cvent Blog German Christmas Markets: Origins and Traditions feature.
Photo Credit: notfrancois, Grand Hotel Park Gstaad