To me, Hannover’s Old Town Christmas markets are very special. The Old Town, like Hannover itself, is big but small. Hannover is a place where English is never spoken, unless you meet up with a native English speaker. It’s the true authentic German experience. The Old Town architecture boasts a combination of medieval and 1700’s Bavarian-style housing. Hannover markets are special because it blends a combination of modern, historic, medieval and Finnish stalls. Most stalls are constructed by hand where hunks of wood are designed into the most magical-looking stalls. You can enjoy Gloggi in the Finnish tent that is warmed by a fire. You can enjoy a medieval concert while eating flammkuchen. Or you can eat a gurken (pickle) while walking around the 14th Century Marktkirche.
Experiencing the Hannover markets is a walk through history. During certain times of the day, medieval-dressed men battle swords or play bagpipes and beat drums like they did back in 1592. What I find most amazing is that it embraces its history and culture. You can find soup boiling in a cauldron or gluwein served in a small ceramic cup. Nothing is forgotten.
Hannover Christmas stalls also offer Bio (organic) products, wine, punch and food. One of my favorite stalls offers organic holunder mulled wine and apfel-ingwer punch that kicks my taste buds to heaven. Although meat-heavy, Hannover offers a weekend long vegan Christmas market in Steintor that invites local and regional vendors to sell vegan products and food including goulash, doner kebabs, curry wurst, Christmas cakes and more.
When in Hannover, get lost and awaken your senses with Christmas cheer. There are other Christmas markets to visit next to the Hauptbanhof and in the Liste neighborhood. But nothing compares to the Old Town markets that will always a remain a special place in my Jolly Ol’ St. Nick heart.
It will seem weird trying to enjoy the same Christmas spirit in America. No markets, no public drinking, no Christmas cookie and cake shops – that feels surreal. Especially, when we can’t even get a snowman on a Starbuck’s cup to remind us of our country’s history, roots and culture.