At the Frankfurt Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) from November 27nd to December 22nd two hundred booths brim with traditional German crafts, food and spirits. Each of the booths is strung with fresh pine garlands, giving off the wonderful scent of the holiday season. The glittering 120-foot-tall Christmas tree and the antique carousel with its elegant painted horses are the centerpieces of the Weihnachtsmarkt.
Frankfurt’s Weihnachtsmarkt, started in 1393 at Romerberg Square, is the oldest in Germany. Each year from late November to just before Christmas the Romerberg is turned into a holiday wonderland. On the south side of the square is the fourteenth-century Nikolaikirche (Church of Saint Nicholas aka Santa Claus). During the Weihnachtsmarkt, the church’s forty-bell carillon plays holiday music at various times throughout the day and evening. Climb the steps to its balcony for panoramic views across the marketplace and the city.
This market is holiday shopping at its traditional best; here you will find beautifully crafted gifts made by local artists. You can look on as glassblowers create delicate glass ornaments, woodworkers carve rocking horses and other wooden toys; fiber artists embroider designs on linens or knit sweaters, hats and mittens; and candy makers designing small figures, Quetschemannchen, a specialty found only in Frankfurt, they have gaily decorated walnut faces and bodies made of dried prunes.
Whetting your appetite in the cold, crisp air are the delicious aromas of foot-long bratwurst crackling on an open grill, red cabbage stewing in heavy pots, stunning arrays of cheeses and meats, warm gingerbread and stollen. At every turn is the sweet scent of hot glühwein (mulled wine) served in beautifully decorated mugs. You pay a deposit on the mug; if you like it, you keep it – a nice souvenir of the Frankfurt Weihnachtsmarkt.
Images courtesy of Frankfurt Tourist Board