Friday, December 6, 2013

Visits Of Christmas Markets Past - Freiburg, Germany

This is the last post in my series. This week we have already visited markets in  Cologne, Germany and Colmar France.  Stay tuned later in the month when I will be back in Germany and looking for new interesting markets to cover.

Freiburg, a beautiful university city straddling the Dreisam river, is only 40 minutes from Basel, Switzerland by train which explains it's good weather. Located on the edge of the Black Forest, Freiburg is also known for it's vineyards.

Walking into town from the train station, I passed the beautiful Columbi hotel, bordered by a park..Even though it looked serene and picturesque, someone had left a box of disposable needles at the edge of the park. Hmmm...

The Christmas market is spread out over three areas, the Rathausplatz (city hall square), Franziskanerstrasse and at the Kartoffelmarkt (Potato Market). Unique items to buy are delicious vinegars, syrups and liqueurs made from fruit from the Black Forest. Also straw shoes  (also pictured at the top of this post) worn in days gone by are still made and sold. They have a popular use as house shoes.

Rathaus or city Hall

Schupfnudeln and German pastries

Feuerzangenbowle (rum-soaked sugar bread set on fire and dripped into mulled wine)- and Soup served in loaves of bread

A place for the kiddies to bake and delicious Potato puffers.

Other Freiburg Sites:

Around the stunning cathedral is a farmer's market.

The cathedral has the only Gothic tower in Germany, dating from the early 1300s, it survived multiple bombings during WW2.

The Martinstor (Martin's Gate) is the oldest (early 13th century) of the remaining city gates. Probably more famous now for that horrible sign in English. Yes people, there IS a McDonald's in it. Gross.

Historisches Kaufhaus (historical marketplace)is a Renaissance building built between 1520 and 1530.

The city is filled with different patterns in the stone streets. These gutters or Bächle run through the city. The legend is if you are an unmarried visitor to the city and fall into one, you will marry a Freiburger.

I was disappointed I didn't actually see anyone wearing this hat. So I had to settle for taking a picture of a picture. Part of the traditional Black Forest costume, it's called a bollenhut. The color of the huge pom poms on top are significant. Black means the woman wearing the hat is married, red means she's single.

Jewish History

Of Freiburg's 1,400 Jews, 300 were murdered during WW2.

I visited the old Jewish cemetery (1869) where there was a memorial to the victims of the holocaust.

The synagogue was destroyed in kristallnacht. There is a sign commemorating the site. Here is the new one now located in a different part of town. the new synagogue contains the oak doors from the old one destroyed in 1938.

I mentioned these stumbling blocks in my Cologne post. Engraved on the stones are the names, birth date and date of death of each person they represent. They are placed in front of the house where they lived. Here is an example from Freiburg representing three generations of Jews. The Abrahams in their 70's, their daughter and her husband in their 40s and their three children all below the age of 22. I love this idea of symbolically putting back pieces of the city that were ripped away by facism.

Despite some of it's dark history, Freiburg is a beautiful, vibrant, friendly city filled with interesting history.

I hope you all enjoyed round two of these European Christmas market tours. Just revistiing them through these posts made me want to visit them in person all over again.


  1. Beautiful and fascinating post. My husband and I have enjoyed this series very much. He has been to Germany and loves how beautiful it is. I showed him all the pictures in your post and we are very much looking forward to visiting Germany together one day.


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