Get festive in the Ore Mountains

The Ore Mountains region is a unique destination full of age-old traditions and customs found nowhere else in the world. Here, Saxony's long mining history is reflected in centuries-old festive customs that are still as alive today as hundreds of years ago: Each year in the run-up to Christmas, former mining strongholds such as Freiberg, Seiffen and Annaberg host spectacular miners' parades and the region's famous wooden Christmas decorations were once produced by miners to adorn their own homes.

Nutcrackers fashioned to look like miners in their traditional clothing, incense smokers, wooden pyramids, candle arches or wooden angels are to this day expertly manufactured by hand. Visitors from all over Germany and indeed beyond travel to the region to buy their Christmas decoration in special shops or visit dedicated museums, detailing the Ore Mountains unique handicraft tradition. For a special festive trip, the sight of gigantic wooden pyramids on village market squares, witnessing miners' parades or simply seeing all the bright lights illuminating even the smallest towns are hard to beat.

More on special Christmas traditions in Saxony

Dates for miners' parades in Saxony

Be enchanted in Saxony's palaces and castles

For anyone wanting to experience the Christmas spirit in special surroundings, look no further than Saxony's unique range of palaces and castles that undergo an enchanting transformation during the festive season and re-emerge as locations for Christmas markets and festivities, adding a touch of baroque here and some sturdy castle spirit there. Baroque treasure Moritzburg Castle, for instance, turns into a veritable fairytale castle with a special Christmas exhibition on the film “Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella” which is a staple on German TV at Christmas and was shot in the castle, while Wackerbarth Castle, also a famous vineyard near Dresden, puts on a “Saxon Christmas” (16 & 17 Dec 2017), featuring traditional handicrafts and independent producers as well as fine wines and culinary delights.

Let's not forget – the crowd-pleasers!

Apart from the famous “Dresden Striezelmarkt”, Germany's oldest, and Leipzig's beautiful Christmas market, both favourites with international visitors, there are many more wonderful Christmas markets all over the region (see selection below). Exploring those has become much easier with the “Christmas Wonderland Saxony” app by Saxony Tourism, providing information about over 50 Christmas markets, selected seasonal events and specific Saxon Christmas traditions. The app, available in English, German and Italian, allows searching by date, location or region as well as creating a list of favourites including a corresponding route plan and can be downloaded from Google's play store and the App store. So, get planning and should you travel after 9 December, there's a new ICE high-speed rail link which will considerably cut down travel times to Leipzig from major airports such as Munich or Nuremberg.

www.cultural-heart-of-germany.com