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The 12 Trips of Christmas: The World’s Oldest Christmas Market

Touted as hosting the world’s oldest Christmas market, Dresden, Germany has a mile of Christmas merriment to behold. Since 1434, Striezelmarkt has hosted a traditional Christmas market that pulls out all the stops. Located in the center of Dresden, Striezelmarkt is transformed each year into a Christmas wonderland, complete with twinkling lights, powdery snow and the smells of sweet stollen. Take an enchanting trip down the Elbe River. Get acquainted with Saxon Christmas traditions such as the making of wooden toys. Watch live performances of cherished Christmas stories, including Hansel and Gretel at the State Operetta. Enjoy Christmas carols being sung from every corner of the magical market.

Striezelmarkt may be the most popular Christmas market in Dresden, but it certainly isn’t the only one. Strap on your snow boots and discover an entire mile of markets in Dresden. The Winterlights of Dresden is the first festival you may encounter with its glowing Christmas tree that stands nearly 50 feet tall. Find traditional handmade products such as pottery, glass, lace, children’s toys, clocks, and other crafts further down the road at Advent of the Neumarkt. If you’re looking for a celebration that is fit for a royal, don’t miss the Stallhof Advent Festival which takes place inside the Dresden Royal Palace. Here, guild craftspeople sell their wares while jugglers and other performers provide impressive entertainment. Continue your journey south and you will find yourself at the Piazza, where the Romantic Christmas market is held. Here, you can take your sweetheart ice skating or enjoy warm spiced wine while watching the snow fall. The Goldener Reiter is another market you won’t want to miss with its ferris wheel, merry-go-round, 65 foot silver fir tree, and a Christmas pyramid.

There is much more merriment hidden away throughout Dresden, but you have to know where to look. Get acquainted with the historic city by scheduling a guided walking tour. Book a room at a locally-owned bed and breakfast and ask the owners for suggestions of places to explore. Close your eyes, point to a spot on the map and take time to see what it has in store.

December 2, 2014

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