Amidst the twinkle of fairy lights and aromas of mulled wine and bratwurst, the terrorist attacks in Paris seem a long distance away. But its effects were felt during the first weekend of the Nuremberg Christmas market.
Instead of the usual crowds, visitors this weekend had ample space to wander and take photos. The drizzly weather on the first weekend of Advent also contributed to the low turnout. The pre-Christmas magic was somewhat lost to gray clouds and cold wind.
Nuremberg police announced on Sunday (29.11.2015) that they’d had a good, calm start to the Christmas market season. "It went nice and smoothly as far as the police were concerned," said a spokesperson. Due to the current security situation, the market was patrolled by uniformed and plain clothes officers. But police had said ahead of the start date that there would not be any general security checks.
Barbara Otto was this year's Christkind, a traditional gift-bringer in many different parts of Europe. She unveiled the market on Friday evening before a crowd of 20,000. The 18-year-old appeared on the balcony of the Frauenkirche to read aloud a traditional prologue. Although there was no evidence of a terrorist threat, Nuremberg's economic spokesman, Michael Fraas, had advised market visitors to maintain a "casual alertness."
The city of Nuremberg expects to see around two million people pass through the market before Christmas, including a number of international visitors. A total of 185 red and white stalls adorned in sprigs of fir tree sell Glühwein, Lebkuchen, Bratwurst and other traditional Christmas fare, including nativity models, candles, jewellery and the famous "Zwetschgenmännle" - traditional Nuremberg figurines made from dried fruit.