Basel Weihnachtsmarkt (2013)

It’s been over a month since I’ve added anything to my website? I feel guilty, but there really hasn’t be a lot going on here. Work is taking up my weekdays and the weekends are full of random, not-so-interesting things. But now I have something to share with you: the Basel Weihnachtsmarkt!

Centuries old, the Christmas fair is a long-standing tradition and the amount of effort put into each year is evident that it is taken seriously. I didn’t know what to expect and originally wandered quickly through with Dan and my little camera. I was drawn in by the elaborate stalls, beautiful wares and wonderful odors. I returned without Dan and with my good camera to try and capture it.

The market is divided into two sections: the older, more established location at Barfüsserplatz and a younger, less extensive display in Münsterplatz. Tonight I would just focus on the activity around Barfüsserplatz.

Marktplatz – not much there other than the big tree and some lights

The weather has been cold but dry, so there is no snow to create a wintery wonderland scene. The vendors try to overcome this by adding fluffy layers of white material to the roofs of their stalls. When seen from above, it is quite effective. But with the clear weather, the vendors are enjoying the happy crowds.

Scene from Barfüsserplatz

Over 100 decorated trees line the streets

Münsterplatz in the twilight

Freie Strasse

Elaborate vendor stalls

The smell of fresh roasted chestnuts fills the air

Bretzels, still warm from the oven, lured me in

Even full-size wood ovens added to the aromas of the evening

Barfüsserkirche watches over it all

Not everything for sale was traditional or handmade

The moose was animated and moved his eyes and mouth as he sang Christmas carols in German and English

Crowds gathering around the base of the Christmas pyramid

A working, turning Christmas pyramid


Now that I had seen Barfüsserplatz it was time to visit the second half of the Basel Christmas market in Münsterplatz. It was a clear, sunny day and the temperature hovered around freezing. I didn’t realize until I got there that the market didn’t open until 11:00. I was there bright and early at 10:30. This gave me the opportunity to see the area without the crowds of people, a counter balance to what I had already seen at Barfüsserplatz. Still, people were starting to gather and the vendors were slowly opening their doors.

Door knocker on the Münster

An interactive section of the Market, Marchenwald

An old ferry is part of Marchenwald

Potatoes? Butter? I may have to come back!

For those who are curious about what is offered and how much it costs…

I had come full circle around Münsterplatz and it was time to go home. A quick walk by Tinguely water park gave me a quick opportunity to catch one of the features with a light glazing of ice on it. No doubt it would have been much thicker earlier in the morning.

And that, in brief, is Switzerland’s biggest and best Weihnachtsmarkt!


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