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German Christmas Markets: Erfurt

From: German Christmas Markets

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ABOVE: Erfurt's main Weihnachtsmarkt fills the spacious Domplatz in front of the Cathedral.

Erfurt Christmas markets

photoErfurt is a 1,250-year-old city in Thuringia, or Thüringen, in the "green heart of Germany." Its medieval city center is packed with historic buildings, including the Augustian Monastery where Martin Luther became a monk and the cathedral where Luther was ordained as a priest.

photoThe main Erfurter Weihnachtsmarkt is on the Domplatz, a large square in front of the 70 steps that lead up to St. Mary's Cathedral, the St. Severus Church, and the Petersburg Hill with its walled Baroque fortress. The fair, which runs from late November until just before Christmas, attracts busloads of visitors from throughout central Germany.

photoMore than 200 booths sell everything from Thuringian handicrafts to Stollen and other holiday foods. (Be sure to try the Riesenbratwurst--a huge veal saugage served in a mini-baguette--and the Gulaschsuppe, a meaty concoction that's more stew than soup.)

photoYou can also ride a Ferris wheel, ride bumper cars, and put your young children or grandkids on a minitrain while you sip from a mug of Glühwein.

Smaller Christmas markets are scattered around town, most notably in the Anger square (in the heart of the department-store district) and by the Rathaus or city hall.

photoOther holiday activities include guided tours led by Christmas angels, Santa Clauses, or female Santas (some in miniskirts) as well as concerts and a Florales zum Weihnachtszeit flower show in medieval cellars beneath the Cathedral hill. Many restaurants feature holiday menus. (I had a delectable meal of roast Christmas goose, red cabbage, and dumplings at Zum Güldenen Rade, a historic and atmospheric brewery restaurant in the heart of the old city.)

Christmas-season hotel packages are available. These include guided city walks in German, but private guides who speak English can be hired through the tourist office.

For more information on Erfurt, see:

Erfurt City Guide

Erfurt Photo Gallery

Next page: Freiburg im Breisgau Christmas markets



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