This piece originally appeared on the Arabian Radio Network’s Dubai Eye website
On a cold morning in early December I made my way past the colorful town fountain and walked into the maze that was the Nuremberg Christmas Market. The freezing weather did nothing to keep the visitors away, evident from the throngs surrounding the stalls. Steam arose from boiling pots containing hot beverages while wood fire ovens blazed with freshly baked flat bread and pizzas.
Each little shop within the Christmas Market was lit up and filled with yuletide goodies. A few meters away, I found a smaller children’s market complete with Ferris wheel rides, toy trains and a carousel full of squealing youngsters while Santa went about distributing goodies.
With a history as rich as it is controversial, Nuremberg has seen its share of bad luck. A seemingly obscure little Bavarian city, Nuremberg was catapulted to greatness within the Roman Empire and then infamy during the Nazi regime from 1933 onwards. But the town at the foot of the towering imperial castle is more than just that. Targeted by the Allied Forces at the end of World War II just for being the favourite place of the former Nazi dictator Hitler, the city was flattened by allied bombing. The Medieval Old Town was later painstakingly rebuilt exactly according to the plan of the original town. Come winter, the legendary seven hundred year old Christmas Market draws shoppers and lovers of its robust German gastronomy.
The old town of Nuremberg with its high stone walls is surrounded by modern suburbs on the outside. At the heart of old town is its landmark castle, Kaiserburg consisting of three parts: the Kaiserburg (Emperor’s Palace), Stadtburg (City Fortress) and the Burggrafenburg (Count’s Residence). Construction began in the 12th century and continued on for four hundred years. Beautiful gothic churches, their towering spires piercing the skyline and horse drawn carriages cantering down cobblestoned pathways add to the charm of this city.
Outside of Old Town, chilling reminders of more recent history abound in the Nazi Party Rally Grounds, Luitpold Hall, and Great Street. Today Nuremberg stands as testament to the co-existence between its somewhat warring medieval past and its peaceful present.
As I strolled around the old town, I got myself a sugared bread roll and listened to the songs of the carollers creating a wonderful Christmas mood. The world feels at peace and joy fills the air. It’s always a good time to be in Nuremberg!
What to see around Nuremberg:
Walking Tours of the Nazi rally grounds: With a comprehensive information system on the former Nazi Party Rally Grounds, the city offers all visitors to this historic site the opportunity to explore and come to terms with the Nazi party rallies on the very spot that they took place.
Walking Tour of Nuremberg: A pleasant walking tour through the Old Town offers information on the castle, the fountains, wells, the city’s churches and art treasures as well as a flavour about the city’s colourful past and cosmopolitan present.
Historic underground rock cut cellars tour: As early as 1380 rock cut cellars had been cut into the Burgsandstein (local Nuremberg sandstone). During the air raids of World War II many citizens found shelter in these historical vaults.
Nuremberg’s Historical Mile: This tour highlights the major architectural and artistic landmarks of a historic city whose fame rose during the late Middle Ages and which has been substantially rebuilt since the devastation of of World War II (when around 90 % of the Old Town was destroyed!).
Gastronomy in Nuremberg
While there do try to visit the Restaurant Schaufelewartschaft for typical Bavarian fare. Christmas markets are famous for German Bratwurst (sausages), hot Bavarian beverages and fresh breads.
Andrea Bailey is a Dubai based travel writer. She is also a travel consultant with Travel Counsellors and specializes in cruises, family holidays and honey moons. When she’s not out and about discovering destinations and different cuisines of the world, you would probably find her busy with her 3 daughters and her other passions involving art and music.
As a mosaic artist, she has travelled to Italy and studied ancient Roman techniques of the art form and as a jazz flautist she has had the opportunity of performing across various Dubai venues.