The Hohenzollern family kicked off Germany’s annual Christmas Market season at their ancestral castle in the Swabian Alps, south of Stuttgart. Although it is not the country’s biggest Christmas Market, the German press is unanimous in saying it is the most beautiful. Over ten thousand people visited the castle in the Swabian Alps the last week end of November and the first week end of December to buy unique handmade gifts and taste regional specialties.
This year the Crown Prince of Prussia, George Frederich, had more to celebrate than the 20th edition of the Royal Weihnachtsmarkt. He also announce the birth of his fourth child, Prince Heinrich.
More than 40 artisans set up shop in the halls of the fortress while the food-court was packed with people tasting locally killed boar-wurst and venison-burgers to hot mulled wine. There were hand-painted tin Christmas tree decorations, wood carvings and platters, quilts and hand-knitted woolen sweaters, gloves and slippers and schnapps for the adults. Angels on stilts and magic giant bubble blowers, Santa and Cossacks singing traditional Russian tunes, story tellers and clowns and reindeer entertained the younger ones.
The black-and-white Hohenzollern flag flew over the castle announcing the Prince was in while a dense fog dimmed the warm lights of the stands. Georg Frederich, the man who would be Kaiser today, led the choir and visitors in singing the family anthem at the opening on November 25.
For ten euros, you get the entrance fee plus a shuttle service from the valley parking lots to the castle entrance. The castle sits atop an 855 meter high mountain in Baden Württemberg and although it dates back to the eleventh century, it was destroyed by the Free Swabians in the 15th. The present structure was rebuilt by the Hohenzollerns in the 19th century. The castle itself receives over 300,000 paying visitors every year.