The Christmas Market at Hauptmarkt Square

Nuremberg is one of the most historical, influential, and innovative cities of Germany and of Central Europe. With a population over one million citizens, Nuremberg has been culturally and historically significant in many events spanning its near 1000 years of existence. The city has seen the brunt of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Regime, as well as the famous Nuremberg Trails that followed. Nuremberg proved extremely innovative as it was a center for Humanism, Science, and Invention in the fifteenth century. The city has an impressive skyline with famous buildings such as the three Nuremberg castles and numerous picturesque churches.

From the Christmas Market at Hauptmarkt Square in the wintertime, to the football club and other destinations in the summertime, there are plenty of activities in Nuremberg. Founded near the turn of the eleventh century, Nuremberg grew quickly due to its important geographical location as a trading center. It was a key meeting point for the trades between Italy and Northern Europe. Early on the city was commonly referred to as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. It is called that because the Fourteenth and Fifteenth century meetings of the Reichstage and courts held at the Nuremberg Castles.

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In 1219, Nuremberg became an Imperial Free City under Emperor Frederick II. Later in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth centuries, Nuremberg became the center of the German Reformation, as the city accepted the Protestant Reformation in 1532. Picture of the Hangman Bridge The city is well known for its contributions to Astronomy. In 1471, Johannes Mueller built an astronomical observatory in Nuremberg. Several years later, Albrecht Durer, a Nuremberg native, mapped stars of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and became the first astronomer to print a star chart.

Also some of the main works of Nicolaus Copernicus were published in Nuremberg in 1543. In the summer of 1806 as the debt of the city continued to climb, it was agreed upon at the Confederation of the Rhine that the city would be handed over to Bavaria, as Bavarian officials offered the help of pulling the city out of debt. After the fall of Napoleon in the late eighteenth century, the city began to revive its trade and commerce and began to pull itself out of debt. Nuremberg was extremely significant during the Third Reich and Nazi reign in Germany in the mid 1900’s.

Nuremberg was used as a site to rally German citizens under the Nazi Regime. The “Nuremberg Rallies” were held from 1927-1938 as a source of motivation for citizens and soldiers alike. Hundreds of thousands of Germans attended these rallies, and they grew larger year after year. When Adolf Hitler took power in Germany in 1933, the Nuremberg Rallies were sources of huge Nazi propaganda to express Nazi ideas. In 1935, Hitler ordered that the Reichstag meet at the annual Nuremberg rally to relay the message of the Nuremberg Laws, prohibiting citizenship to all Jews in Germany.

Hitler and the Nazis staged countless parades, roll calls, marches, military tattoos, demonstrations of military power and party conferences, mixed with sports events, fairs and fireworks. Hitler had a gigantic statue constructed with the purpose of honoring Nazism. It was also in Nuremberg that Hitler had a large arena built, as well as parade grounds and a granite paved grand marching boulevard. Hitler’s use of the Nuremberg rallies gained him enough support throughout Germany to begin what would become one of the most bloody and gruesome events ever.

Hitler invaded Poland with his Nazi Regime on September 1st, 1939, marking the beginning of the Second World War. The war would last over six years and take an estimated sixty million lives, twenty million of those being soldiers and the other forty million being innocent civilians. Hitler was the driving force behind the war, and Nuremberg was the center of Nazi support. After the wars conclusion and the demise of Adolf Hitler in 1945, many of the German Military leaders and political representatives were to be held accountable for the crimes they committed during the war.

Nazi rally in Nuremberg The Nuremberg Trials were held in Nuremberg between the years of 1945 and 1946 at the Palace of Justice. The trials were held by most of the victors of the war to punish most of the leaders of the Nazi party for the war crimes they committed during the conflict. The most notable of the trials was the Trial of the Major War Criminals in front of the International Military Tribunal. This set of trials was to punish twenty –two of the most important captured members of the Nazi Party.

Other trials were held in order to pass out blame among the German parties responsible. The prosecution entered indictments against 24 major war criminals and six criminal organizations, the leadership of the Nazi party, the Schutzstaffell, the Sicherheitsdienst, the Gestapo, the Sturmabteilung and the “General Staff and High Command,” comprising of several categories of senior military officers. Twenty-three Nazi physicians charged with conducting inhuman experiments on German civilians and nationals of other countries.

The experiments ranged from studying the effects of high altitude and malaria to sterilization. Nine members of the Reich Ministry of Justice and seven members of the People’s and Special Courts were charged with using their power as prosecutors and judges to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. Twelve defendants, officers in the German Armed Forces, were charged with murdering thousands of civilians in Greece, Yugoslavia, and Albania, committing acts of devastation in Norway and other countries, drafting orders denying POWs rights, and ordering the slaughter of surrendered troops.

The city of Nuremberg is definitely scarred with history from the past, but there are still reasons that the city is a tourist destination in Germany. One of the main attractions in Nuremberg comes every winter as the Christmas Market opens in the middle of the city at Nuremberg Market Square. The Market is a ritual celebration of the holiday season and children and adults come from miles away to experience and celebrate the holiday season.

The market opens as the Christ Child, a young girl chosen for the honor every year, recites a ritual speech in front of thousands. Visitors to the market are able to choose from a variety of goods. Nuremberg spicy gingerbread, fruit loaves, bakery goods and sweets, typical Christmas articles such as Christmas tree angels, cribs, Christmas tree ornaments and candles, toys as well as arts and crafts products are available for purchase. Favorite souvenirs include “Nuremberg Plum People”, little figures made from prunes, nd of course, by way of refreshments, there are always rolls with Nuremberg roast sausages and mugs of mulled wine It would also be interesting to me to see some of the history that is still present today, like some of the buildings that have a Nazi design. Germany as a whole is an interesting country and Nuremberg ranks right up there with the most intriguing of cities. From the sights, sounds, and smells of the Christmas market to the historical remains of a painful past, Nuremberg is a city with such a rich history and attractive to tourists everywhere.

Works Cited:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11168a.htm
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/nuremberg/sfeature/index.html
www.theage.com.au/articles/2006/10/27/1161749303084.html

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