I’ve spend this Christmas, in Nuremberg. For the first time, last year, I’ve managed to see three Christmas Markets from three different cities, in two extremely different countries, just before Christmas: Timisoara, Sibiu and Nuremberg.
I was slightly disappointed by the Christmas Market from Timisoara: a few artisanal producers selling cured meats and baked goods (most of them not originating from the Banat area), textile and wood artisans, selling their merchandise in poorly decorated wooden huts, disposed linearly in Timisoara’s epicenter, Victory Square. Even though Timisoara has a monumental architectural ambiance, the Christmas decorations did not emphasized it’s grandeur. I visited this Christmas Market just after it’s installation and the atmosphere was pretty grimey. Maybe during nighttime, the lights created more charm, but during the day it was not a very cheerful scene, as you can see from the photos.
The Christmas Market from Sibiu had much more spectacular vibes than Timisoara: better lighting system, a much more captivating ambiance, but, the kitsch factor was also present. I’ve tried a few pastry delicacies sold at the Market, but I was totally disappointed by the poor quality of the products: it seems I’ve bought placebo “delicacies” instead of the genuine products the vendors were claiming to sell. Anyway, one culinary specialty stood among the others: a deep fried spiral potato, artificially spiced!
Let’s get to Nuremberg, my adoptive city for the last 5 years.
I guess Nuremberg got to be the one of the most festive city from Germany, when it comes to Christmas. Nuremberg is the gingerbread capital of the world and from what I know, the world capital of wooden toys and on top of that, this city has one of the most visited Christmas Fairs in the world, almost 2000000 million visitors every year. An entire economy dedicated to Christmas, exists for centuries and thrives in this city: gingerbread, Christmas Tree ornaments, various artisanal products, wooden toys and a lot of other culinary (Glühwein and Nuremberg sausages) or visual delights. Old brands with a strong cultural background, mostly family-owned, managed to perpetuate their products through the centuries and nowadays they’ve become pillars of a healthy local economy. Brand names like Wicklein (since 1615), Faber-Castell (since 1761) are among the world’s oldest brands, but there are a lot of other small artisanal producers from the Nuremberg area, which have an immense contribution to the local economy. Of course all over the world, Christmas it’s contaminated by obnoxious consumerism and aggressive kitsch, but in Germany you can find by visiting the local Christmas markets, authenticity, quality products and also inspiration.
Just open your eyes and enjoy the show.