Germany Travelogue Part 10: Dresden, the Striezelmarkt and Stollen
We've "visited" Seiffen in the Ore Mountains where the wooden Nutcrackers, Smokers and Pyramids are handcrafted in small studios. We've "visited" Lübeck up in the north which is famous for Marzipan. And, of course, we've taken a look at the city of Nuremberg where authentic German gingerbread called Lebkuchen is famously made.
Now we travel to Dresden - a stunningly beautiful city in the north east part of Germany. There is so much to talk about when it comes to Dresden so we have to stay focused! Our Travelogue about this city is about the Striezelmarkt Christmas Market and Stollen. But first a look at the most well-known structure on the city's skyline - the Frauenkirche or Church of Our Lady.
We got to visit Dresden as a family when our children were quite young. A favourite memory is of our tour of the Frauenkirche watching our three kids wander around with their headphones on listening to the audio guide. every now and then our youngest would look at us and blurt some word he had just heard - "church", "bombed" and "glorial" (or at least that's what we've always thought he said but now that I'm googling that word he might have gotten it wrong - he was referring to the large, intricate and now crushed and twisted metal cross that once stood at the top of the church).
A winding 6 minute walk from the church is the Striezelmarkt - the Dresden Christmas Market that celebrated its 584th anniversary in 2018 making it one of the oldest Christmas Markets in the world (amazing that at 584 it's still only one of the oldest and not the oldest!). All through the Advent Season visitors browse through the 200 plus stalls in the Altmarkt.
The word Striezelmarkt comes from Strüzel or Stroczel, which was the name of a type of cake sold at the market, now famous as Stollen or Christstollen*. But Dresden has its own take on Stollen - the Dresdner Stollen - and only about 125 bakeries in the city are certified to sell their Stollen with official Dresdner Stollen seal.
Stollen is a big thing in Dresden during the Holidays. No...I mean it is a really large baked loaf that fits on a wagon pulled by horses during the annual Stollen Fest. After the parade this huge Stollen is cut up into 500 gram pieces and sold. The money raised from the sale is given to a good cause chosen by the bakers' guild.
A beautiful and sad story of Striezelkinder figures (Kids from Striezel) is connected to the Dresden Christmas Market. The legend has it that these young street vendors in the 1800's sold Pflaumentoffeln dolls (figures made from dried prunes) as well as toys and Christmas decorations, You can read all about it in another of my Blogs called The Stories behind the German Wooden Folk Art Figures - The Original Striezelkinder.
And you can take a look at the pair of Streizelkinder wooden figures in our shop - this particular design won a gold medal at the 1937 World Expo in Paris and is still handcrafted and hand painted in Seiffen.
Dresden is a fascinating city with fabulous art and architecture and lots to see and do. Let us know about your travels to this area of Germany or of your memories of living in or near Dresden. Use the Comments section below!
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* Wikipedia - Striezelmarkt