Medieval Markets in Germany

By: John Edward Donovan

At various parts of the year a number of towns and citieswill have a small medieval market. In late November the city of Nuremberg has the‘Historischer Katharinenmarkt’. Like all these affairs this particular medievalmarket is great fun. All the stall holders are in medieval dress which isusually brown and beige woolen clothing often with a hooded cloak and a ropelike belt, the recreation society members are all in military attire from themiddles ages, chainmail and skirts with swords or spears, they tend tocongregate around a wooden fire sitting on crudely made wooden chairs andtalking and laughing in a way reminiscent of what it must have been like manycenturies ago for the local lord’s retainers to be overseeing a market of theday.

??????????? There isusually entertainment at these events, in this case a juggler dressed as ajester and a band, in troubadour outfits, playing lively renditions of medievaltunes on medieval instruments – the drum and bag pipe. Such markets usuallyhave stalls selling mead, monastery brewed ales and berry wines, tipples notoften found at beer festivals the rest of the year.

The stalls are also aninteresting feature of these markets, although some are the familiar woodenhuts of the more common beer fests, most are colourful tents, more likepavilions, in fact, of the type we are used to seeing in Robin Hood movies ofthe 1960s from America,with pointed tops and flowing sides. Many of the wares on offer at these stallsare also surprising. There is usually a fortune teller at the market who doespalmistry and tarot cards; you can get a scroll with your family name and itshistory, or buy a hand-crafted bow or a blacksmith forged sword. A stallselling armour is often present at these fairs as are stalls selling medievalcostumes and woolen cloaks. There are herb and spice stalls, a bakery sellingfreshly baked bread from an on site wood stoked oven and a stall sellingdrinking horns. Children are also catered for with one or two stalls sellingtoy wooden swords, bows and shields and even knight helmets. At this particularmarket there was a large pavilion set up in the Turkish style in which you candrink beer or tea and smoke on water pipes all whilst sat on large cushions ata low set Arabic metal filigreed coffee table. Of course bars abound, whatwould a medieval market be without stalls to purchase a flagon of ale (someeven serve drinks in pewter mugs) or have something to eat. At many of theseoccasions they roast an entire ox or goat on a spit and slice the meat directlyfrom the roasting beast.

During the market a parade takesplace in which the recreation medieval society marches with banners flutteringin the wind, weapons held highComputer Technology Articles, and musicians playing marching music.

Medieval markets have been partof the annual festivities in many German towns for many years and are onlyrecently starting to be held in other countries.The whole thing is anentertaining day out for the whole family and if you get the opportunity Iwould highly recommend you go to see one.

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