Even before the first Advent, Dresden is transformed into a proper Christmas landscape from the main train station in the south to the New Town on the other side of the Elbe river – and in the middle is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany, the Striezelmarkt. This year it takes place for the 580th time.
Its name derives from the pastry that is inseparably connected in Saxony to Christmas: the Christmas stollen, also called Striezel, an elongated yeast pastry. It was consumed at the end of the Middle Ages during the pre-Christmas Lent. In the spirit of renunciation the church forbade to bake the stollen with butter and milk. In response to petitions of two Saxon princes, Ernst and Albrecht from the House of Wettin, the Pope issued in 1491 the “butter letter” that allowed the Saxon bakers to use richer ingredients. The Striezel was now also introduced to the Dresden Christmas market, in 1500 it was sold there for the first time – and certainly contributed to the famous reputation of the market.
The Striezelmarkt, drawing every year up to 2.5 million visitors from around the world, still celebrates today the art of Stollen baking – with a Stollen parade and festival. Everything revolves around a giant stollen, which is baked by several Dresden bakers and driven through the city before it is sold to the visitors of the Striezelmarkt for charitable purposes.
In addition to the large Striezelmarkt with over 200 merchants and artisans, grand fir and giant pyramid – several more Christmas markets attract guests with a unique atmosphere: such as the Medieval Christmas spectacle in the Royal Stables with candlelight, the Christmas market on the Hauptstraße with international specialties, the Romantic Christmas Market Anno 1900 on the Neumarkt, the Christmas market at the Church of Our Lady. Also the Loschwitz Christmas market near the Blue Wonder Bridge is a traditional highlight of the pre-Christmas bustle.
Dresden Walks also puts you in the mood for Christmas during our daily Walking tours– with numerous entertaining information about Christmas customs and traditions in Dresden and Saxony – and a small surprise treat at the end.
Contributed by: Iris & Katharina