Postcard from Christkindlesmarkt - Nuremberg, Germany

Vendor in front of the town fountain
Last week I had the opportunity to spend a couple days wandering around the Christmas Market in Nuremberg. I'm not a big shopper, but the experience was well worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing this German tradition and wanted to share it with you.

The Christkindlesmarkt was set up mainly in one large city square in front of the Marienkirche. The area near the church doors had a stage where choirs sang or musicians performed. We heard several different choirs/ bands performing during our time at the market - day and evening.

From there, the rows of vendors filled the entire square with aisles for shoppers to walk through. All the vendors displayed their wares in wooden stalls built side by side.

Since it's for the Christmas season, the majority of booths sold Christmas ornaments, decorations, nativities, and presents for everyone in the family. The German-made decorations were so beautiful that it was a joy just to view all these crafted items.

To many people, the German food and beverages for sale were more important than the crafts. The main refreshment was Gluhwein - heated wine flavored with orange, cloves, cinnamon, anise and other spices. Many cups of Gluhwein were warming up hands in the cold wind.

A favorite of mine was the German gingerbread made with flavored frostings and decorations. Large German pretzels and other baked goodies could be purchased throughout the market. And of course, the German Stollen. I bought one  made with cranberries and macadamia nuts. Can't wait to try it.

One part of the Christkindlesmarkt was the Kinderweihnacht - Children's market. We wandered into that area along with the classes of school children there that day. It was really magical with it's ferris wheel, merry-go-round, and animated characters over the vendor booths.
Decorated Ferris Wheel

For me, the strangest part of the Christkindlesmarkt  was the Zwetschgenmannle. I saw several booths around the market square with the small characters for sale. When I saw one up close, I was amazed to find that they were made with prunes, figs, and walnuts. This is a tradition that is definitely unique to Nuremberg. 

It's said that a father invented them for his children back in the 18th century as he was trying to find a unique gift for them. Today they are made with a wire base that is attached to a piece of wood. The prunes for legs and arms are put onto the base with figs for the torso. The walnut head is painted and placed on the top along with a hat. (These are not for consumption!)

The prune-men artists make these "people" into all kinds of poses - farmers, dancers, cooks, waiters, chimney sweeps, kissing couples, etc. I, of course, had to choose a pastor prune-man for my hubby. 

I can enthusiastically urge you to visit the Nuremberg Christmas Market on a future trip to Germany. Don't wait too long because it's only open from December 1 - 24. Not a day longer. Enjoy!


  1. Do those prune dolls last or do they shrivel and spoil?

    1. They are supposed to last for years. If they get a white coating on them, it's sugar residue and could just be washed off. We'll see what really happens to it.


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