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Dortmund has the World's Largest Christmas Tree


By Erin Porter
Germany Travel Expert, about.com
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Poor Dortmund is often overlooked by visitors. It is not the prettiest German city. It sits within the industrial Ruhr region. It is easy to focus on Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, etc. before setting your sights on Dortmund.

But around Christmas time, maybe you should. The city - like so many others - features a charming Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) with a show stopper of a Weihnachtsbaum (Christmas tree). Visit Dortmund to see the World's Largest Christmas Tree.

Dortmund's Christmas Tree

[post_ads]Dortmund proudly claims the title of biggest Christmas tree, but others may disagree with this definition. There is no dispute that it stands at a wildly impressive 45 meters (147 feet) - but there is some contention about it being one Christmas "tree". This massive attraction is actually made up of over 1,700 individual trees, carefully fitted together to make the Biggest Christmas tree in the world.

It takes a team of construction workers four weeks to set-up the 40,000 Kg tree in the Alter Markt (old market place) on Hansaplatz (main square).

The base alone takes up 400 square meters. Once the tree is complete, it is fitted with almost 50,000 lights and topped with a 4 meter high angel that is lit with an additional 1,000 bulbs. Workers can make adjustments using the stairs hidden within the interior and its very own fire extinguishing system prevents a Christmas Vacation style catastrophe.

The city has been erecting this king of Christmas trees since 1996. They put up the tree and open the market in late November and let it bring good cheer until December 30th. This year's effort began on October 20th with the opening ceremony taking place on November 23rd. It was presided over by Mayor Ullrich Sierau. A platform on the tree provides the two million visitors a picturesque view over the square and holiday festivities.

Dortmund Christmas Market[post_ads_2]

The 117th Dortmund Christmas Market has around 300 stalls sprawling over nine squares in the heart of downtown. Each uniquely decorated stand sells charming wares, such as wooden crafts, children's toys and - of course - food and drink (and don't forget about the sweets).

There are all the typical Würste (sausages), but try the local Westfälischer Schinken (Westphalian ham) or Dortmund Reibekuchen (potato pancakes). Wash it down with the requisite Glühwein as you shiver in the cold and enjoy the atmosphere of happy Germans. Mugs require a small deposit (2.50 euro), but then you are free to keep the cup with this year's design as a souvenir.

Kids will love the Christmas Village and Fairy Tale shows on the schedule. If they need something a little more interactive, take them to the Weihnachtsbackerei (Christmas bakery) where they can try their hand at traditional cookies and treats. Good little boys and girls get to meet the Christkind (just like in Nuremberg) daily from 13:00 to 19:00 and tell her their Christmas wishes. And there are rides
Tours of the market and city are available by foot, bus or even segway. Another vantage point to enjoy the city is from the Reinoldikirche's bell tower on Saturdays. 

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Travel Magazine: Dortmund has the World's Largest Christmas Tree
Dortmund has the World's Largest Christmas Tree
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