Xmas in Rheinland-Pfalz

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Home Page > Features > Germany > Rheinland-Pfalz > Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets in Rheinland-Pfalz

In 2004, we made a special effort to hit the Christmas markets in Rheinland-Pfalz.  The markets there are much newer than the ones out in Bavaria, but the Catholic traditions of the four cities we visited were much stronger.  So, in some ways the markets were a bit of a mix between the religious-themed ones of Bavaria and the secular-themes of other western German locations (see Xmas in Hessen).

Trier -- Germany's oldest city has just about the best Christmas Market in the West.  It's large and reasonably spread between the Domplatz and the Hauptmarkt, so the large crowds had some room to maneuver.  The decorations were first rate, and the setting before one of Germany's oldest and best Cathedrals was perfect.  (The Trier travelogue is located here)

 We parked in the lot underneath the Porta Nigra in the heart of the downtown.  Walking from the Porta, we reached the Hauptmarkt and turned left to the Domplatz, where this picture was taken.  The Trier Dom was open and thousands of people flocked inside.   

The first photo was taken from the windmill shown here, whose base was itself a nutcracker store.  The booths around the Domplatz were very new and impressive (Trier's market, current edition at least, is only 25 years old).  Off the photo to the left was the city's nativity, which was animated.

This a shot from beyond the Hauptmarkt looking back from Fleischstrasse.  The bell in the tower at center lit up and rang every hour.  Below it was a massive life-size statue of Santa Claus, to permit people to take photos while the live St. Nick wandered around the city.

This is the Hauptmarkt looking the opposite way, across the Rathaus toward St. Gangolph (the white and yellow tower in the background).  At this end the Christmas market was combined with the regular Saturday market, so some booths sold fruits, flowers, meats, fish, and cheeses.

Mainz -- The site of the famous Gutenberg press and the confluence of Rhein and Main rivers has one of the older Christmas markets in the province.  It's actually rather small in relation to the size of the city, but it's religious ties are very strong, boasting one of the largest nativities around.  (The Mainz travelogue is located here)

This market is contained within the Domplatz, shown here, and around the front of the Dom toward the Rhein river.  The nativity location is at the base of the Cathedral to the right of the blue banner -- on a huge house-size platform.

Mainz's market is very colorful, using loud striped canvas tops for its huts with loud decorations and lots of lighting.  This is another shot of the Domplatz facing the Lion's Apotheke.
Speyer -- This marvelous Cathedral city has a very picturesque Christmas market that follows along the main sidewalk from the Cathedral to the edge of downtown.  It is a concentrated market, as we found out when we visited on a very sunny Saturday afternoon.  (The Speyer travelogue is located here)
This is the entrance to the market away from the Rhein, facing the Cathedral.  Curiously, the huts face inward to form an alleyway, which permits the road to continue vehicle use.  Behind us was an ice rink set up for the market. This gives you an idea of how crowded the market was, but it was still plenty navigable.  Clearly one of the newer markets.  It had a beautiful train, and lots of fairy-tale decorations (Little Red Riding Hood was among the characters greeting those who entered.)
Worms -- The Worms market was very different in character from the others in this chapter as it does not use its famous Cathedral as a base.  It uses a market square facing the outer residential and business districts away from the river, so it didn't have any of the city's landmarks as a backdrop, a curious decision.  (The Worms travelogue is located here)
This is a shot from the entrance to the Weihnachtsmarkt, with a snowman in the distance marking the turn to the main market center.  This end had more food booths, while the booths in the middle sold mostly specialty goods. This was the main market square, filled with kiddie rides, events, and lots of booths.  Next to where we stood was a Santa Claus with two sacks of gifts.  For three Euro, you could take your chance on a gift -- one sack was boys stuff, one for girls.

 Page last updated 01 September 2006 -- (C) 2005 Tom Galvin



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