STEPPING BACK INTO THE MIDDLE AGES AT THE DRESDEN MEDIEVAL CHRISTMAS MARKET:
The Dresden Striezelmarkt is the largest and most famous of the Dresden Christmas markets, but a Christmas market with a difference and one which we like a lot is the Dresden Medieval Christmas Market.
Watched over by a Christmas angel, the Dresden Medieval Christmas Market is set up in the Stallhof, once the Royal Mews of the Dresden Royal Palace. Although it is quite small in size, it is nevertheless jam-packed with stalls and atmosphere.
Atmospheric Christmas Market
The first thing we notice on entering this Medieval Christmas Market is that it is quite dimly lit and there are no bright sparkling Christmas lights here. It’s only seconds later that the light bulb switches on for me – Ding! there were no sparkling or bright neon lights during medieval times!
The ambience of this market is set to be like in medieval times with the stallholders adding to the atmosphere by dressing up in medieval clothing which reflect their particular trade. Guild craftsmen and craftswomen make their goods using tools and materials from medieval times. There are some 40 stalls covering crafts like woodwork, an ironmonger, a rope maker, a leather craftsman, a sign writer and artist, etc.
The crafts that they sell at this market are also different to those that are common in the other German Christmas markets. For example, you can buy felt shoes and hats, made the way people wore them in medieval times or belts and tailor-made leather pouches, wooden kitchen utensils, ceramics, wrought-iron lamps, etc. Or maybe you fancy a new set of knight’s armour? What you won’t find here are mass-produced products, tinsels or Käthe Wohlfahrt-type Christmas decorations.
There are plenty of food stalls here and at the oxen stall, a whole oxen is being barbequed in a wood oven. The emphasis here is fresh and local produce.
Although brass bands didn’t exist in the past, this evening the Neva Brass Band provides musical entertainment and they are very good. During the weekends, entertainment takes the form of jugglers, minstrel music and archery.
Eating at the Medieval Market
After checking out the various food stalls, we decide on the knobibrot, a fried bread with a garlic sauce. The bread is quickly fried in a giant pan and then a garlic cream spread over it. The knobibrot costs €4.00, but for an extra €1.00 you can help yourself to a range of toppings such as tomato sauce, fried onions, olives, jalapeno chillis, and a hot chilli sauce. The knobibrot is large enough for the two of us and there is a pizza slicer there where you can slice your knobibrot. It’s delicious, but beware of dripping the garlic cream. Tony manages to drip some on his coat and only realizes it when he notices large white spots glowing in the dark.
In addition to the knobibrot, we have some nice roasted potatoes, topped up with melted cheese, which goes down very well with glühwein in the cold weather.
The Dresden Medieval Christmas Market closes quite early and by 9 pm, most stalls are already sold out or are in the process of packing up. By this time, most of the glühwein are also sold out.
As there is no dessert to be found and an espresso is out of the question in medieval Dresden, we retreat to the Maritim Hotel Dresden where we are staying, happy that we managed to step back into the middle ages for our little medieval Christmas market experience.
Dresden Medieval Christmas Market
Stallhoff, Dresden Royal Palace