Christmas in Augsburg

by Amanda Hayward, Contributing writer



Photo10cAngels harmonizing, spotlights beaming, Advent coming to life — all of this only begins to describe the Augsburg Christmas market.

The market, located in southwest Bavaria, opens every year before the first Advent Sunday, and this year’s opening ceremony took place Monday. The market hours continue through Christmas Eve.
The Augsburg “Christkindlesmarkt,” or Christmas market, is one of the oldest and most beautiful markets in Germany dating back to 1498. Alina Stonner from Consumer Protection and Market for Augsburg said one thing that sets the market apart from others is its central location directly in front of the city’s historical town hall.
“The Augsburger Christkindlesmarkt is very historic,” she said. “This makes it so special. It still gives you the feeling of home when you walk over it.”
The 16th century Renaissance-style Perlach Tower, which stands about 230 feet high next to the city hall, exemplifies the town hall square, where 102 decorated booths filled with handmade crafts, mulled wine, chocolate covered chestnuts, gingerbread and Christmas decorations stand. Surrounding the city center are 36 more booths. Stonner said it is hard to say which booth is the most popular this year, but “there are two special ones.” One of these special booths sells handcrafted crucifixes, and the other sells handcrafted figures for it’s live Nativity scene. This so happens to reflect on the market’s Advent calendar theme: the religious aspect of Christmas.
Beginning Monday and continuing through Dec. 23, the city hall’s windows will be transformed into a giant Advent calendar, wholeheartedly designed by graphic art students at the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences. One window is opened every day at 4:45 p.m. with the exception of Christmas eve when the window is opened at 11:30 a.m.
The market also includes the “Engelsspiel,” or Angel’s Performance, where 24 “angels” appear in the windows of city hall, bringing the Advent calendar to life. In this 37-year-long tradition, the angels stand on the balconies over the town, raising their horns and playing their music to the town square below. Each angel is chosen carefully and must meet at least two specifications: be tall enough to be viewed from the city hall’s balconies and have danced ballet in the past so they can gracefully perform “fluent angelic movements.”
The “Engelsspiel” can be seen at 6 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, except on Dec. 23 when the angels appear at 7 p.m.
Also at the market, make sure to take a stroll along the Christmas-themed streets, including Angel Street, Gingerbread Lane and Fairytale Street.
This year’s theme on Fairytale Street is “Christmas with gnomes and trolls.” On this street, located in downtown Augsburg, visitors will find detailed and beautifully decorated shop windows. Fairytale Street is perfect for children.
Augsburg is located in southwestern Bavaria, about an hour from Munich. Because it is a bit of a drive from the KMC, it might be beneficial to make it a weekend trip.
Axel Jäckle from the Augsburg marketing department suggests taking the train on a Saturday morning and checking into a hotel in front of town hall. Next, go on a city sightseeing tour, which can be booked through the city’s tourist office.
“After that, stroll through the Christmas market and enjoy the culinary delights and, of course, the mulled wine,” Jäckle said.
After walking through the market, do some shopping in the pedestrian zone, take the kids to the children’s Christmas market and make it back in time for the Angel’s Performance at 6 p.m. On Sunday, take the children to the exotic animal Nativity scene at the Augsburg Zoo, or explore the town’s history by visiting the new Fugger und Welser Erlebnismuseum, a museum that tells the story of how the Fugger and Welser families made their fortunes in the 16th century.
“It´s an interactive museum with lots of information, especially designed for kids,” Jäckle said.
For more information on the Christmas market, getting to Augsburg, city events and hotel accommodations, visit