Munich Christmas Market

Munich Christmas Market
Like many other cities in Germany and Austria, Munich hosts several Christmas markets (known as Christkindlmärkte or Weihnachtsmärkte) during the Christmas season. The city’s main Christmas market is held in Marienplatz which has been the main square of Munich since 1158. The Marienplatz Christmas market is arguably the oldest event of its kind in Munich. It was founded in 1642, although the city’s tradition of pre-holiday markets dates back to 1310.

The oldest Christmas market in Munich was originally known as Nikolaimarkt (Saint Nicholas Market). It gained its current official name, Münchner Christkindlmarkt, in 1806. The market has changed locations several times throughout its history. It was moved to the city’s central square in 1972 and has been held in Marienplatz every year since then. Today, the Christmas market in Marienplatz is one of the brightest events of the year in Munich and a major tourist attraction visited by guests from all over Germany and abroad.

As one of the oldest markets of its kind in Europe and probably even in the entire world, the Munich Christmas market has plenty of traditions. During the market, Marienplatz is dominated by a giant Christmas tree adorned with around 3,000 lights. The tree is donated by one of Bavarian communes, to donate it is considered a great honor. More than 100 decorated stalls offer traditional Christmas goods and treats.

The Christmas market in Marienplatz is opened by the Oberbürgermeister (lord mayor) of Munich. He delivers a speech from the balcony of the town hall, congratulating everyone on the beginning of the holiday season and wishing a happy Advent. After that, the market is officially ready to welcome its guests and offer them an impressive choice of Christmas treats, local delicacies, hot drinks, gifts and souvenirs, handicrafts, etc. The Christmas trade is illuminated by thousands of lights and accompanied by Christmas carols which create a unique festive atmosphere.

The range of traditional goods offered by merchants hasn’t changed much over the centuries. At the market, you can buy gingerbread cookies, Zwetschgenmännle (“plum men”, funny souvenirs made of prunes), wooden handicrafts from Oberammergau, South Tyrol and the Ore Mountains. If you get cold, there are hot drinks that will keep you warm such as spicy mulled wine (Glühwein) and German punch.

One of the market’s signature traditions is the Krampus Run. It is about 500 years old. Krampus is a mythological character which punishes children who have misbehaved, while Saint Nicholas reward well-behaved children. By the way, Saint Nicholas visits the Christmas market every afternoon.

Other attractions at Munich’s oldest and largest Christmas market include Germany’s largest manger market in Neuhauser Strasse, live music performed by Bavarian musicians and choirs, the Heavenly Workshops for kids aged 6 to 12, a Christmas post office, and more.

Munich Christmas Market




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