“Ihr Herrn und Frau'n, die ihr einst Kinder wart, seid es heut' wieder”, are the words of Nuremberg's Baby Jesus addressing the visitors, opening the Christkindlesmarkt at Nuremberg's Hauptmarkt square. In English, the phrase corresponds to “You men and women, be the children again who you once used to be”. Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt is one of the world's oldest and best-known Christmas markets. Stroll around and explore the splendid Christmas decoration, the colourfully lit market stands and just get carried away by the cosy Christmas atmosphere.
You find traditional and often hand-made Christmas decoration, lovely cribs, wooden nutcrackers, angel figurines and plenty of other souvenirs you might want to take home with you. When here, don't forget to try any sweet that you can get. We recommend the original “Nürnberger Elisen-Lebkuchen” (ginger bread) and spiced biscuits. If you feel like eating something more hearty, then you should try the famous “Nürnberger Rostbratwürstchen”, the Nuremberg sausages and enjoy a mulled wine to it.
If you happen to be interested in how angel figurines and the “Zwetschgenmännle” are produced or ginger bread is made, take part in a guided tour that'll inform you about all there is to know about the history of Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt.
Events and highlights
Each year, Nuremberg's Christkindlmarkt has various events to offer, a wide range from Christmas concerts, guided tours, exhibitions and much more. The opening ceremony is quite an event! The torch-lit procession walked by Nuremberg school kids and the performance retelling the Christmas story take place underneath the Kaiserburg. And most importantly, make sure you don't miss nipping from the largest “Feuerzangenbowle” (brandy punch) in the world.
Christmas for children
At Hans-Sachs-Platz square, an entire Christmas city is built for the little guests of Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt each year. This has been a tradition since 1999. The “Nürnberger Kinderweihnacht” (“Nuremberg Children's Christmas”) makes children's dreams come true. The offer includes baking cookies, painting glasses, writing a wish list to Baby Jesus and riding carousels on the nostalgic fairground.
“Sternenhaus” (house of stars)
In the “Sternenhaus”, located in the Heilig-Geist-Saal hall, a varied cultural and reading event is offered for children. There are ballet performances, children's operas and theatre productions shown to the public. The fairy-tale events are especially popular as Baby Jesus is on-site and makes star dust rain on kids. Everyone can come here and hand their Christmas present wish list personally to Baby Jesus.
The market of twin cities
Apart from the traditional Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, the market of twin cities has been established since 1986. The city of Nuremberg is twinned with 13 other cities and holds close ties with 8 communities. The twin cities' market is located on Rathausplatz square, north of Hauptmarkt. It gives the traditional Christmas market an additional international touch. Here, you can find hand-made Christmas decoration and jewellery, traditional products from various countries and many other interesting things that are indispensable on Christmas.
The profits raised will be donated to charity projects in the respective twin cities.
The stagecoach on the Christkindlesmarkt
The stagecoach on Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt invites you to embark on a journey through time. This is your chance to enjoy the festively decorated city and the colourful Christmas market bustle with style, comfortably being chauffeured around the market sitting in the carriage. See all of Nuremberg's sights without walking. Meanwhile, the postillion plays Christmas songs on the trumpet.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the market became less important and had been relocated several times. It was only in the 1930s that the market bustle was re-activated. The traditional event was used by the Nazis to establish Nuremberg as the treasure of the German Empire and upgrade their own annual festivity calendar. That's why the Christkindlesmarkt was ceremoniously re-opened on Nuremberg's Hauptmarkt square in 1933. An actress dressed as Baby Jesus spoke a prologue, accompanied by two angels. Additionally, a children choir was singing Christmas songs and the church bells were ringing. During the Second World War, there was no Christkindlesmarkt open in Nuremberg. The Christmas market was set up for the first time since the war had ended in 1848. The background scenery was the completely bombed old town of Nuremberg.
It was Friedrich Bröger, the head playwright of the theatre and son of the working class poet Karl Bröger, who wrote the adjusted prologue that was to be spoken by Nuremberg's Baby Jesus on the occasion of the Christmas market's re-opening. We could see actress Sofie Keeser impersonate Nuremberg's Baby Jesus in the period between 1948 and the beginning of the 1960s. From 1969 onwards, the tradition was established to choose someone aged 16 to 19 who would mime Baby Jesus every second year.
In 1973 a new record was set: over a million visitors came to Nuremberg's Christmas market!
- Christkindlesmarkt Nuremberg is among the 10 best rated Tourist Attractions in Bavaria.
How to get there
The Christkindlesmarkt is located on the Hauptmarkt square in Nuremberg's city centre. As everything is close here, you may comfortably explore the entire old town by walking.
By public transport
Nuremberg can be easily reached by train, bus, plane and even by ship via the Main-Donau-Kanal. In Nuremberg everything is well connected. To get to the Hauptmarkt, you may go by bus, tram or underground.
You get to Nuremberg's city centre by taking the “Frankenschnellweg” or the federal highways B2, B4, B8 and B14, all leading to Nuremberg. Once you're in the city centre, follow the parking guidance system taking you straight to covered or basement car parks.