As soon as the first Advent candles are lit in the Christmas City of Dresden, the streets and buildings are transformed into a sparkling winter wonderland with the intoxicating aroma of mulled wine, the sound of joyous music and the soft glow of romantic lighting. And after the Christmas festivities, the celebrations continue with the unforgettable spectacle of the New Year’s Eve fireworks display silhouetting the world-famous Elbe panorama.
The Striezelmarkt is the oldest Christmas market in Germany. The purveyors of food and drink and the vendors of local handicrafts will once again be vying for the custom of Dresdeners and visitors to the city. The huge, traditional Striezelmarkt tree will be set up as usual in the Old Town as the fair enters its 581st year. From 26th November until 24th December, visitors young and old will be enchanted by fine woodcut art from the nearby Erzgebirge, steaming mulled wine, fragrant gingerbread and Advent music. Children can create their own mini masterpieces in the “Pflaumentoffel” (Plum Devil) House, be entertained in the Puppet Theatre and ride on the merry-go-round or miniature railway. When you’ve visited the Striezelmarkt for the first time, you’ll return over and over again.
Did you know? There are no fewer than eleven completely different Christmas markets where the public can wander around, admire the wares on sale and sample seasonal treats. These range from the quaint medieval village through to the après-ski hut party. Around 100 containers and 2,000 barrels of mulled wine are served annually at the Striezelmarkt with its 200 stalls. And of course, Dresden boasts the biggest Christmas Stollen in the world – four meters in length, two meters wide, one meter high and weighing in at around four tonnes. It has earned the bakers of the Elbe metropolis a mention in the Guinness Book of Records. On 5th December, the giant Stollen will be transported in a grand procession to the Striezelmarkt where it will take center stage at the Stollen Festival.
Every year since 2006, Dresden’s Theaterplatz has been the focal point of the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations. It is an open-air event that has become famous throughout Germany, pulling in a crowd of around 20,000 to the square that is fringed by the Semper Opera, the Zwinger Palace and the Catholic Cathedral. Yet the most breathtaking view of the famous Baroque skyline is to be had from the Elbe embankment on the opposite side of the river. Many hotels organize New Year shows and put together special packages that include accommodation, sightseeing and gala dinner.
Courtesy Dresden Marketing Board. www.dresden.de