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A visit to one of Berlin’s Christmas markets Posted by on Dec 11, 2011 in Culture, Folklore, Food, Traditions

Although snow hasn’t reached Berlin yet, when you are out in the city you cannot miss that it’s Christmas time. People may have decorated the trees in their front yards with Christmas balls or electric lights.
The city itself has also done some spectacular decoration with the help of its electricity supplier: The linden trees along the boulevard Unter den Linden are illuminated by 80 km (50 mi) of electric lights.

And there  are dozens of Christmas markets in Berlin. I cannot imagine Christmas time in Germany without at least one visit to a Christmas market! Even the village I grew up in had its own Christmas market for two days in December. (Christmas markets originated in the German speaking regions of Europe in the Late Middle Ages. Only recently have they also become popular in countries like England and the U.S.)

But back to Berlin! This week I visited the Christmas market at Gendarmenmarkt. Gendarmenmarkt is a square in the center of Berlin, famous for its two cathedrals, the French and the German one, as well as the Konzerthaus. I like this market for its diversity. There are a lot of food stalls which sell typical German Christmas food like Lebkuchen (ginger bread), Marzipan (almond paste) and Bratwurst, but also many many arts and crafts stalls that offer Christmas decorations and unique handmade gifts.

And of course my friends and I couldn’t go without having Glühwein (mulled wine)! Many Germans just go to Christmas markets in order to enjoy this seasonal drink. Glühwein is usually prepared from red wine, which is heated and spiced with cinnamon, clove, lemon zest and star anise. Delicious!

  • Have you ever been to a Christmas market? Was that in Germany or elsewhere? How did you like it?
  • Do you like Glühwein as much as I do? What is your favorite food / drink of the Christmas season?
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  1. Greg Dreyer:

    My daughter and I were in Berlin during the Christmas season in 2009. We visited several Christmas markets. A favorite drink of mine was cherry beer (Kirschbier) served warm, which we found at the market on the Ku-Damm. Another favorite there was roasted chestnuts (Maroni). It was VERY cold during that visit. Other markets we visited were at Opernplatz, Potdamer Platz, the Pink Christmas Market, and the one in downtown Potsdam. Living in Chicago, we have an excellent, genuine Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza. There are German vendors there and it gives me an opportunity to practice my German.

  2. theodora:

    I was in Germany in 2008-2009 and @Festive season visited some Weihnachtsmarkt. Love the traditional foods, the traditional decorations, costumes and all. And I was surprise to find some of our (Indonesian) handycrafts were in the market also (in Bad Wimpfen). But to me, Christkindlmarkt München is the best!

  3. Nina:

    Dezember 2007, gingen meine Eltern und ich beim Weihnachtsmarkt in Kaiserslautern. Zum ersten Mal trank ich da Glühwein – zwo Tassen voll! Super lecker!