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DSCN0789 editedSo – Merry Christmas in May! Yep, still catching up – hope you’re bearing with me and getting nostalgic for Christmas time. Dresden was by far my favorite in terms of Christmas markets. Of all the ones we went to Dresden’s felt the most festive, magical, and endless. Even right outside our Hotel – the Ibis Hotel – there was a Christmas market! So we started from out hotel and then were able to walk easily to the famous Striezelmarkt located on Altmarkt Square.

DSCN0778DSCN0971Of course that second picture was taken the next morning – much better lit up at night. But that is the main entrance – so cool! The Dresden Striezelmarkt is full of history. In fact it is the oldest Christmas market in Germany dating back to 1434! It is also named after Dresden’s famous Christstollen or as it is traditionally called – streizel (hence striezelmarkt). If you remember that was the cake we had when visiting Pfunds earlier that day. Scott told me that his grandma would always bring one of these Christstollens to Christmas back in Pennsylvania while he was growing up. She was originally from a small town outside of Dresden so he was so surprised and excited to see that stollen wasn’t just something his grandma liked, but something from Germany – a tradition that she brought to the states! That was really fun to discover. And here we were in the market named after Stollen! Anyways – back to pictures of this magical Christmas wonderland – and doesn’t Striezelmarkt just sound festive? Like Christmas lights sparkling amongst evergreens? Yeah, I definitely liked Dresden!

DSCN0779DSCN0792DSCN0794 editedDSCN0793DSCN0795DSCN0796After walking through the Striezelmarkt, enjoying all the smells of stollen and gluhwien, the twinkling lights, and the festive ornaments and trinkets we continued walking towards the Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady). This is the most beautiful and inspirational church I have ever been to – let me tell you why . . .

DSCN0799 edited 4This church was completely destroyed in the bombing of Dresden during World War II. This was all that was left:

Frauenkirche ruinsThe ruins remained for years to serve as a memorial. The picture above is from 1991. Then, the church was restored. It was finished in 2005. You can tell by looking at the church which pieces were from the original church by their darker color.

DSCN0806This building just represents hope – and I love it. You can even see all the way to the left of the building in the picture above the wall that remained after the bombing and how it was reincorporated. The inside is also beautifully restored and the altar includes 2,000 pieces that were from the original building. What makes this altar unique is the it is one of only a few in the world to depict Jesus in the Garden of Gethesemane.

DSCN0820DSCN0831DSCN0821DSCN0832DSCN0833It was just breathtaking. Just to the side of the altar you can see the original cross that once adorned the top of the church. It remains just as it was found when pulled from the rubble.

DSCN0827Like I said – the most inspirational and hopeful church. Just beautiful. After saying a prayer we decided to walk around the church. The area around the church is full of beautiful architecture and was, of course, surrounded by more Christmas markets!

DSCN0813DSCN0802 editedDSCN0803DSCN0810We continued to meander down side streets and discover more markets. The night slowly grew dark, Christmas lights glowed off our faces, and the holiday spirit was so palpable you couldn’t help but be filled with hope and cheer.

DSCN0835DSCN0846DSCN0839DSCN0842DSCN0848 edited 3I hope this post leaves you with a longing for the Christmas season and a little bit of hope and cheer!