Christmas Market and other architechtural destinations
Christmas Market and other architechtural destinations Darmstadt Reviews
Sep 28, 2006
The history of civilization in this city dates back to the Neolithic age 5000 to 4000 years BC. The first permanent settlements seem to have developed around 2000 BC. Archeological excavations of burial site findings, prove that today's Darmstadt was inhabited by Celts, Romans and German tribes. The history of the city of Darmstadt began in 1256, when the counts of `Katzenelnbogen' started the construction of a castle as military stronghold and administrative center. Soldiers and merchants built their homes around the castle, and more merchants were attracted to the area. population reached approximately 1,000 inhabitants in 1330.
This was a day trip to the city of science, commerce, and the arts. A Russian chapel, a wedding tower, built in the Jugendstil for a princess and the archduke, a natural history museum with an 'eros picasso' exhibit, a sea of sycamores, lots of gluehwein, and a christmas market.
The first stop on the journey should be the Russian Chapel, decorated with gold leaf and designed by St. petersburg architect Lois Benois . Built in 1897-99 by Zar nikolas II of russia, who had married the Darmstadt Princess Alexandra, andwanted his own house of god to pray in.
To the right of the chapel is the famous Jugendstil (an architechtural style) tower, built in 1905 by architecht Josef Maria Olbricht. The wedding tower was a giftfor princess Eleonore and the grand duke Ernst Ludwig . When you step inside the tower entrance, you will seecharmingly beautiful gold mosaics of the happy couple, kissing as angels.
The park where both of those architectural treats are located is beautiful in its own right, with its grove of sycamore trees, and various statuary that line its paths. Of note is the sculpture "The circle of life". The work of B. Hoetger, 1914, who wanted to represent the connectivity of man and nature, by displaying the spring, summer, sleep, and reawakening of all life.
In the area is also St. Ludwig's catholic church, 1822-1827, modeled after the pantheon in rome. It is pink, and it's large! Though we were unable to enter, as the church was holding services, there was still much to marvel at outside its walls, including the obelisk and statues.
The Natural History Museum is more fascinating than most in the world, as it houses a large collection of Religious objects and finds from the Medieval Ages. This time around, it being Christmas season in 2003, there was a large Picasso exhibit, showing his erotic sketches.
Dinner was at a Vietnamese restaurant, where I munched Nasi Goreng, one of my favorite dishes, and strangely - something I seem to only be able to get when I am in Germany.
So, what is the highlight about coming to this very beautiful, culturally rich city? The Christmas Market.
The beautiful backdrop to the market are the Baroque townhall and city castle. The town hall, and most buildings surrounding the market square are decked with lights, and within this flourescent enclosure lie treats and delights galore. In addition, there is a large tent displaying local artist works, alongside the Christmas pyramid.
This market, along with most others across Europe begin end of November, usually the 22-30., and end a couple days before Christmas,on the 23. I know that in Germany, Christmas is celebrated on the 24th, so don't expect to do a lot of Christmas Eve shopping here.
The uniqueness of this market is that Darmstadt's sister cities are all here to contribute their crafts, their wares, and their food. Hungarian amber, Swiss chocolate, Ukranian textiles, along with the famous german hot spiced wine Gluehwein, grog, and wines from local wineries.
Foods galore to attract the visitor;waffles, the lovely christmas bread (christstollen), a multitude of gingerbread hearts in every size, crepes, and all things warm and delectable under the starry night.
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