Germany is known for their magical Christmas markets and the enchanting Nuremburg market is one of the oldest in Germany that dates from mid- 16th century. Bavaria’s second largest city, Nuremburg was founded in the 11th century and its fascinating rich medieval history played an important role due to being located at the crossroads of several river and land trade routes.
Locally known as Nurnberger ChristKindlesmarkt, the market opens each year on Friday before the First Sunday in Advent (the period of four weeks before Christmas). The long wavy blond-haired Christmas Angle is a symbol for the origin of Christkind and can be seen in many mediums of art such as sculpture, paintings, advertisement, and in human form.
The excitement and festive atmosphere entice the holiday merry makers to explore the Christmas village winter wonderland. While walking around the seasonal markets I listen to holiday music, see whimsical gift ideas in the decorated wooden sheds, enjoy the many styles of Riesling wines, smell the aromatic warm glühwein to take the chill off my bones, and taste big plump pretzels, schnitzel, strudel, and other delicious local treats.
Germany is the country of sausages with hundreds of varieties and the three methods of preparation are scalding, smoking, and cooking this meat. The original Nurnberger Rostbratwurst is the local scalded pork sausage eaten with homemade sauerkraut and tangy mustard or on a roll with ketchup and/or mustard. This sausage is made in the Nuremberg area and produced following a specific recipe that has been made with stringent requirements enforced by law.
Of course, virtually all Christmas markets across Germany will offer gluhwein. Even though there are various homemade recipes of this mulled wine, basically it is prepared from heated red wine and garnished with a cinnamon stick. Literally translated as ‘glow wine’ this delicious beverage is a staple as one strolls the many seasonally decorated sheds.
Being a history buff and art lover, no wonder Nuremburg is probably my favorite Christmas market to visit. I have visited this city a few times and its vibrant trendy town has significant cultural sites that I can never tire visiting. One of my favorite artists and one of Nuremberg’s most famous residents was Albrecht Durer. The 15th c. Northern Renaissance artist’s wood timber house is now a public museum showcasing his printing workshop, woodcuts, etchings and paintings.
The Development of Printmaking, being engraving and woodcut, played a vital role in Northern Renaissance culture in disseminating knowledge, expanding social consciousness and transmitting artistic styles. Prints are made by pressing a sheet of paper against the print matrix to which ink has been applied. When the paper is removed, the image adheres to it in reverse. Engraving originated in Germany and the Nuremburg born, Albrecht Durer, was known as the talented vanguard woodcut artist and engraver in this art medium. Durer became the most important figure in the transition from Late Gothic to Renaissance style in Northern Europe.
For the military history buffs, visit the Documentation Centre Nazi Party Rally Grounds located in the court house. This permanent exhibition explores the rise of the Nazi Party, and the German Resistance. The Nuremberg Trials took place at the Palace of Justice and this famous courtroom is still used today. In 1933, Hitler declared that Nuremberg should be the “City of the Nazi Party Rallies”. No wonder this city was virtually destroyed by the Allied Forces, yet one can see the remnants of some monumental buildings and roads used for Nazi events and parades.
A fun visit to the toy museum exhibits historic toys that is enjoyed by both kids and adults. I must admit it was a bit jarring seeing the scary painted faces on the antique dolls. I did get a kick out of learning that my childhood Barbie doll was from German descent.
The Germanisches National museum houses one of Germany’s most important collections of artifacts. The objects range from prehistoric to modern and this museum is the country’s largest museum in cultural history.
Another interesting subject, for me, is the German Railway Museum. Nuremberg is the birthplace of the German railway and this exhibition shows from the development to the modern train system.
The Nuremberg Castle dominates the historical center and can be seen from many points. This 11th century group of medieval fortified buildings was once the most important imperial castle of the Holy Roman Empire.
I can easily spend a few days in Nuremberg any time of year, yet I especially enjoy this season to feel the festive ambience and sightseeing around town to take in a few cultural sites. Worth a visit and google to delve deeper into Nuremberg’s rich and long culture.
The Delong 100 Grape Varietal Challenge encourages all wine enjoyers to expand their wine drinking horizon by seeking out unusual grape varieties. These past few years, I have tasted over 180 grape varieties. After all, there are over thousands of grape varieties world wide. With so many wine grapes, styles of wine, and wineries to explore, wine is an educational adventure. So grab your virtual passport and come along with me on a Grape EdVenture™ around the world.