Winter Wonderland in the Heart of Sofia
It was only a few days ago when the first snow fell in Blagoevgrad and the AUBG campus looked like a winter wonderland picture. The noise of the crunching snow underneath our feet and the scent of tangerines in the Skaptoparas made us dream of the upcoming winter holidays. Take a break from the projects, stop thinking about the finals and experience Christmas in Berlin style in Weihnachtsmarkt Sofia!
The Christmas Market is a tradition that goes back a long way. During the Late Middle Ages in the German-speaking part of Europe, Weihnachtsmarkt became a usual way to celebrate the weeks before Christmas. A predecessor is considered to be the “December Market” that is held in Vienna and dates back to 1294. Until Dec. 20, in the City Garden at the Batenberg Square, you can experience the Christmas spirit with a cup of mulled wine and a traditional German wurst.
The market is your own magical getaway in the heart of Sofia. It consists of several little wooden houses that sell traditional pasties, dishes, and decorations. Some of them have a beautiful picturesque design related to the German culture. An example is a small cottage that mimics the Hansel and Gretel house, from the famous German fairytale written by Brothers Grimm, with sweets like cookies, lollipops, and candy canes glued to the wood.
Weihnachtsmarkt Sofia offers traditional West European dishes like Bratwurst and Currywurst. They are served with Bretzel/Fries, Sauerkraut, and mustard. The drink offered to warm you up in the chilly December days is Glühwein, which has a unique recipe – it is a mixture of red wine, cinnamon sticks, orange, and cloves. For the Germans, Glühwein is an integral part of the Christmas experience.
For those who love sweets, there are many delicious desserts such as handmade gingerbread cookies, dark chocolate, and stollen. Stollen, a fruit-filled sugar-coated loaf, is a classic German dessert. One of the small houses is dedicated to churros, a fried dough pastry. The visitors of the market can also bring some holiday magic home by buying some Christmas decorations. A few of the cottages offer hand-made toys, jewelry, as well as books.
At the center of the market there is a beautifully decorated Christmas tree with several tables where people can enjoy their bite and feel the cheerful atmosphere. The Weihnachtsmarkt is most anticipated by the children, as every evening they can enjoy the puppet show as well as meet Santa Claus and share with him their wishes. The Weihnachtsmarkt is not merely a project of spreading the cultural traditions of the German speaking countries in Bulgaria. It is a charity event and with every item bought, the visitors contribute to a fund that help children with oncological problems.