The Salzburg Christkindlmarkt has deep historical roots and is one of the world’s oldest Advent markets. Its unique setting in the heart of Salzburg’s World Heritage-listed Old City, the traditional market stands and its long history make the Salzburg Christkindlmarkt a truly special occasion.
The history of the Christkindlmarkt in Salzburg
The origins of the famous Salzburg Christmas market go all the way back to the late 15th century. Back then, the so-called “Tandlmarkt” would be held on Cathedral Square in the heart of the city, offering a wide range of goods for the locals to buy. By the 17th century, this Advent market had been christened the “Nikolaimarkt” – that is to say, the “Saint Nicholas’ Market”. For two weeks before and two weeks after St. Nicholas’ Day (on 6 December), a variety of products were offered for sale on and close to Cathedral Square: from a delectable selection of foods, to dolls and all kinds of bric-a-brac. The "Nikolaimarkt" was one of the most famous Advent markets of its day, second only to the ones in Vienna, Paris, Amsterdam and Nuremberg. From 1903 until the early 1930s, the Christmas market was restricted to the area adjacent to the cathedral arches.
Christmas Market with a Unique Atmosphere
The Salzburg Christkindlmarkt, as it is known today around the world, has existed since 1974. Every year, the market is officially opened with befitting pomp and circumstance on the Thursday preceding the first Sunday in Advent, closing its shutters for the final time on 26 December. Local folk customs and traditional decorations for the Christmas tree, gifts for big and small, incense to help conjure up a festive atmosphere in your own home, all kinds of delectable treats in the form of Austrian specialties, mulled wine and hot punch: At the Christmas market on Salzburg’s Cathedral Square, you will discover practically everything you could possibly wish for. This famous Advent market draws countless visitors every Christmas season, and is also very popular with the locals, too. Not least because of the traditional huts and unique atmosphere, along with specially designed lighting that stretches above the market stands like romantic stars across the night sky.
Events at the Salzburg Christkindlmarkt
The Christkindlmarkt isn’t only a location for around 100 market stands. The organizers have also ensured that visitors are treated to a colorful daily events program: readings of Christmas stories for children, Krampus parades, guided Christmas tours, choral concerts, visits by the “Christ Child”, festive melodies performed from the surrounding towers, and so much more.
- “Sing-Along” in a choir open to singers from the general public – every Tuesday from 6 – 8 p.m.
- Traditional wind music – performed high above the square every Thursday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
- Visit of the Salzburg “Christ Child” with his angels – every Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
- Children’s reading with the “Christ Child” – every Wednesday at 4 p.m.