Germany Travel Advices

Christmas magic in Dresden

During the Advent season, Dresden is transformed into a luminous and contemplative Christmas city. The Saxon state capital is worth a visit all year round anyway. But the Christmas magic is something very special here.

 

Dresden’s city centre is currently being decorated with eleven thematically different Christmas markets. In addition to the large Striezelmarkt, the Christmas craft market at the Frauenkirche also has a long tradition. An eight metre high and accessible pyramid is the landmark of the market. Craftsmanship from the surrounding area and historical guilds can be admired all around. Everything is accompanied by Christmas music, from church choirs to singers of currents.

Abendaufnahme; Blick von der Heinrich Schütz Residenz auf den Neumarkt mit der Frauenkirche Dresden und den Weihnachtsmarkt ‘Advent auf dem Neumarkt’. Foto: Prof. .Jörg Schöner (DML-BY)

When the “Dresden Winter Lights” shine along Prager Strasse, a magic spell is cast over the famous shopping mile. In the evening, the 15 m high Christmas tree is set in scene with lighting. With musical background it can hardly be more festive.

Party atmosphere and hut fun can also be found in the city centre. Directly at the Postplatz, the Hüttenzauber invites you to an après-ski party and until 22.12. is a magnet for party-goers with a hut bar, curling track and event hut.

The Dresden Residenzschloss is much more romantic. Historic market stalls spray with Christmas glamour against an impressive backdrop. There is a unique ice skating experience in the inner courtyard of the Taschenbergpalais. Fantastically illuminated, the romantic ice rink lures you to winter fun.

 

The oldest Christmas market in Germany

The people of Dresden proudly look back on a long Christmas tradition. In 1434, Elector Friedrich II had a free market organized on the Altmarkt for the first time. Initially a pure meat market, the successful event was expanded over the years to include many goods. Over the centuries, the Striezelmarkt became one of the most popular Christmas markets in Germany.

Der 582. Dresdner Striezelmarkt. Foto: ddpix.de (DML-BY)

Colourful market life, delicious delicacies and traditional craftsmanship from the Erzgebirge mountains conjure up a unique atmosphere. Nowhere else is the variety of artistically hand-carved pyramids, elaborately decorated candle arches and lovingly designed smoking men bigger.

The largest Erzgebirgische step pyramid of the world is also in this year popular photo motive. In the show workshops visitors can look over the shoulder of the craftsmen.

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday there are also traditional programme items and festivals. Highlight on the 2nd Advent weekend is the Stollen Festival. A Christmas procession runs through the baroque old town. On the Striezelmarkt a giant Stollen is cut by the “royal court baker” and the Dresden Stollen girl.

 

Oberbürgermeister Dirk Hilbert (2. v.l.) und weitere glückliche Akteure auf der Striezelmarktbühne beim 24. Dresdner Stollenfest nach dem Anschnitt des Riesenstollens. Foto: Schutzverband Dresdner Stollen e. V., Michael Schmidt (DML-BY)

On the 3rd weekend of Advent the focus will be on craftsmanship. The pyramid festival on Saturday and the Schwibbogen festival on Sunday deal with the history of traditional pieces.

On the 4th Advent weekend it will be musical on Dresden Christmassong Eve and the day of the Dresden Kreuzkirche.

 

Backen von echten Dresdner Christstollen. Foto: Schutzverband Dresdner Stollen e. V., Katharina Grottker (DML-BY)

But what actually is a “Striezel”?

This is a world-famous Christmas baking which today bears the name “Dresdner Christstollen”.

In Central Germany this is a yeast dough, which is refined with sultanas and candied orange peel and baked as a braided plait. In addition to the Dresden Stollen, there are numerous variations, for example with marzipan, nougat or poppy seed filling.

 

Kinderbasteln im Pflaumentoffelhaus. Foto: Sylvio Dittrich (DML-BY)

A fruit chimney sweep?

If you visit Dresden during the Christmas season, you can’t avoid the Pflaumentoffel. What kind of funny tuber men are these?

Pflaumentoffel are often recognizable as chimney sweeps. This can be traced back to the impoverished children of the 16th century who worked for the chimney sweeps and crawled into the chimneys of the townhouses to clean them. In the 19th century it was again children from poor families who made the Pflaumentoffel and offered them for sale from vendor’s trays during the Christmas season.

Today the Pflaumentoffel is available in all imaginable motifs, is considered a lucky charm and a popular souvenir from Dresden at Christmas time.

 

STAY | Vienna House QF Dresden

 

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