The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Christmas Markets


Advent, or Christmas markets, originated in the German-speaking parts of Europe during the Middle Ages. The earliest record of a Christmas market dates back to 1296 when the first one was held in Vienna . The tradition spread to other areas of Europe and these markets were common in Germany , Switzerland and some parts of France . These days, the tradition of Christmas markets has spread around the world.
Two years ago we were lucky enough to be in Vienna at the start of Advent. There are 21 Advent markets in Vienna in the run-up to Christmas and we got to visit the ones that are held in Rathausplatz; at the Schonnbrunn Palace; at the Belvedere Palace; in Karlsplatz and the one in Maria-Theresien-Platz. At the time of our visit I had not yet started my blog, so I have very few photos of the wooden booths and their gorgeous wares.
A common feature of all the Christmas markets we went to is the scent of gingerbread and mulled wine (a non-alcoholic version is also available); bratwurst and roasting chestnuts. The booths are fascinating, selling hand-made treasures such as toys, soaps, Christmas ornaments and candles, amongst other things.
Vienna - Nov 2007 (35)
Vienna - Nov 2007 (29)Vienna - Nov 2007 (31)
Vienna - Nov 2007 (28)
The backdrop to these markets is as appealing as the booths themselves. In Rathausplatz, the imposing Gothic façade of the Town Hall (Rathaus) towers over the people milling in the square at the traditional Christmas Market (Christkindlmarkt) and acts as a giant Advent calendar.
Vienna - Nov 2007 (27)
The Culture and Christmas market in the courtyard of the Schonbrunn Palace is a throw-back to the days of Imperial Vienna. I almost expected an emperor to ride down the courtyard on a stallion or one of the court ladies in sweeping skirts to peep at us from behind one of the many windows.
Vienna - Nov 2007 (54)
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The Christmas market in Karlsplatz is famous for the number of crafts which are on sale. The most notable being:  paintings, jewellery, stained glass and wooden items. Situated in this square is the church of St Charles Borromeo with its huge, imposing columns.
Vienna - Nov 2007 (127)
Vienna - Nov 2007 (134)
Artisans from different ethnic backgrounds were selling their goods in the stalls outside the Belvedere Palace . Various articles of African art and jewellery helped to provide a different ambience to this market.
The Christmas village in Maria-Theresien-Platz is one of the latest additions to the list of Advent markets in Vienna .
There is a certain romance about wandering around in the frosty winter air, with snow flakes gently wafting down from cotton-candy clouds, while drinking a mug of warm mulled wine and shopping for loved ones. It is easy to close your eyes and imagine the booths of long ago, lit up by candles, selling wares which were made as lovingly then as they are now.
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There is something for everybody at the Christmas markets and, as you can see from the photos above, we gave in to our temptations quite a few times but, when we look at the things we brought back with us, we remember the happy time we spent there, mingling traditional Christmas shopping with the beauty and splendour of Imperial Vienna.

16 comments:

  1. I love the choices of things you bought in Vienna, Loree. They are works of art. Truly beautiful.

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  2. What a wonderful place to enjoy and celebrate the season! Beautiful photos, Loree!

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  3. Beautiful photographs! I wanted to thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment about the poem I wrote. It's always lovely to hear from a new reader!

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  4. Looks like it would be fun to stroll around the Advent markets in Vienna. There's so much to see from the awesome architecture to the beautiful things for sale!

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  5. My mother was from Weisbaden, and Christmas was so special there. The markets you have shown are lovely, and the ornaments bring back such great memories! Thanks for sharing!!

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  6. Catching up> great photos in previous posts.
    I love the Christmas markets, they are so festive. We don't have many here in Cyprus.

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  7. Wonderful pictures - such a different world than I what I know.

    I have an award for you at my Writer's Butt blog.

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  8. The Advent/Christmas markets look wonderful! I wish I was there right now. It's a perfect way to enjoy the holidays and shop. LOL

    I think I liked the Schonbrunn Palace as well. It does call up all kinds of fantasies.

    Thank you for sharing it all with us!

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  9. Thanks for the roundtrip through Vienna !
    When I arrived in Brussels 50 years ago, I had to go with my parents to Aachen, the nearest town in Germany to see a Christmas market !
    In the last ten years they also started in Brussels and now every little commune has its Christmas market and a very big one in Brussels center !

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  10. Thank you sharing,I wish you happy years.

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  11. Wow! Fantastic architecture and wonderful pictures of the markets...thanks for sharing these, they were beautiful!!

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  12. wow. paintings that look medieval and buildings that look like castles.... siiiiiigh.....

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  13. Just dropped by to wish you Season's Greetings!

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  14. I also love writing and photography, sweetpea. I found your blog on someone else's blog and just thought I'd hop over and find our who you were. Nice to meet you! I love lots of photos on blogs and stories about places you live and visit.
    xoxo,
    Connie

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  15. Merry Christmas Loree, hope you have a wonderful holiday!

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Thanks for stopping by. I read and appreciate every one of your comments. I will do my best to reply whenever I can.

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