Christmas and Dresden – for lovers of the festive season, the two are almost synonymous. As soon as the first Advent candle is lit, the Baroque city transforms itself into a sparkling winter wonderland with romantic coloured lights and the intoxicating aroma of mulled wine. No fewer than twelve totally distinct Christmas markets invite passers-by to browse the stalls, tarry awhile, tuck in and imbibe. These markets range from a tranquil medieval village scene to a cluster of après ski huts catering primarily for revellers. The more serious-minded visitor will be delighted by the cultural programme on offer, which includes not one but two versions of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in the Frauenkirche and the Kreuzkirche (Church of the Holy Cross), various seasonally themed exhibitions in the city’s museums and the ever popular Christmas Circus.
The delicious seasonal specialities and handcrafted ornaments on sale at the stalls of the Dresden Striezelmarkt have been pulling in the crowds for the past 580 years. It is the oldest Christmas market in Germany. Starting on 27th November, locals and visitors alike will again be swept up by the hustle and bustle under the huge Striezelmarkt Christmas tree. Fine woodcut art from the nearby Erzgebirge mountains, steaming mulled wine, fragrant gingerbread and Advent music – once you have experienced the Striezelmarkt, you’ll be back in future years. Perhaps the grandest occasion of the Dresden Advent Calendar is the Stollen Festival which culminates at the Striezelmarkt on 6th December. On this date, the city stages a parade to celebrate the world-famous Dresden Christmas cake known as the ‘Stollen’. The bakers of the Elbe metropolis join forces to produce the world’s largest Stollen: four metres long, two metres wide, one metre tall and weighing in at a staggering four tonnes. The giant Stollen has, of course, been entered in the Guinness Book of Records. Follow this link for further information….