Discover Germany, Issue 56, November 2017

Page 68

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Magical Christmas Time

A Christmas market with historic flair, a unique setting and world-class concerts The Altöttinger Christkindlmarkt attracts people from all over the world with its unique atmosphere: a Christmas dream world surrounded by historic buildings, churches and chapels that tell the story of Altötting’s tradition as a pilgrimage site. The setting radiates history and spirituality. Every year round about 200,000 people visit the traditional Bavarian Christmas Market that combines culinary experiences, arts and crafts with programmes for children and high-class concerts. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN  I  PHOTOS: H. HEINE/VERKEHRSBÜRO ALTÖTTING

In Altötting, Saint Nicholas traditionally opens the Christmas market after the Advent wreaths have been blessed in the church. Angels accompany him, as do musicians and the choir from a local school. The Marienbrunnen, the central well in the middle of the marketplace, is covered with pyramid-formed glass that reflects the lights of all the surrounding, lovingly decorated wooden stalls. The smell of sugar, roast chestnuts, lebkuchen and mulled wine hangs in the air and draws visitors 68  |  Issue 56  |  November 2017

from stall to stall. Artists and crafters are selling their products – from leather gloves to traditional hats, from jewellery to decorations. Many people, who have visited the Altöttinger Christkindlmarkt before, come back every year because the atmosphere is very special and unique. “Because the Christmas market with its 80 stalls has an ideal size, it creates this cosy, homely and peaceful atmosphere one can feel all over the city,” says Sabrina

Peetz, who works for the city’s tourist information. Altötting is the most important Marian pilgrimaging site in the German-speaking area, so the city’s atmosphere is shaped by the ‘Chapel of the Miraculous Image’ and churches, the impressive baroque buildings framing the central Kapellplatz. “The ensemble of baroque buildings create a unique atmosphere and form an incredible backdrop for our Christkindlmarkt. And when it comes to choosing the stalls we concentrate on a balance between arts and craft and culinary delights,” says Sabrina Peetz. All year long, Altötting is a great destination for people interested in art, people enjoying a hike, pilgrims or cyclists. The museums in Altötting house world-class art treasures like the Goldene Rössl in the house of pope Benedict XVI. or the 1,200-square-me-