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Europe’s best Christmas markets
Written by Momondo   
Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Christmas market
Christmas market in Alsace © by blieusong

Europe’s famous festive markets are a great way to infuse a little tradition, magic and authenticity into your Christmas (shopping). Here’s our pick of the best.






Dresden – Münzgasse

Christmas market in Dresden © by eiapopeia

The oldest in Germany, Dresden’s Christmas market has been going almost 600 years. Craftsman from the region flock to its 250 or so stalls – as a result the wares here are more traditional and unique than most other markets. The highlight is annual fruitcake (stollen) festival held on the second Sunday in December.






Copenhagen – Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli at Christmas, Copenhagen © by Mollenborg

Europe’s oldest amusement park is dressed with hundreds of Christmas trees and thousands of lights for its Christmas market. One of the major attractions frozen lake turned ice-skating rink. The food and drink here is as much a draw as the atmosphere and arts and crafts on offer – particularly the glögg (spiced mulled wine) and hot apple dumplings.





Salzburg – Cathedral Square and Residence Square

Christmas in Austria © by kimkubrick

One of the most important aspects of a Christmarket is its sense of occasion. Loomed over by an imposing church, looked over by a medieval hilltop castle and centred on a two-storey high fountain encased in an avant-garde glass cone, Salzburg’s market certainly has that. All floodlit, they make the perfect backdrop for browsing arts and crafts.





Prague – Old Town Square

Prague Christmas Market © by kimkubrick

While there are lots of markets around town, we think the best is in the heart of the old town. Rows of colourfully decorated huts organised around a giant Christmas tree sell a mix of hand-crafted wooden toys (including classic Czech puppets), handmade jewellery, candles and crystals. Be sure to try the medovina, a honey wine known as mead in English.






Brussels – Place Sainte-Catherine, Grand Place, and the Fish Market

La Grand-Place in Brussels © by Diueine

With around 240 wooden chalets, Brussels’ market is nothing short of expansive. Many countries are represented here, though many of the stalls offer similar crafts and Christmas decorations. The real attraction is the traditional Belgian food: Waffles, doughnuts, free mussels, caricoles, you name it they’re all here, ready to be washed down with a typically strong local beer.


This article is courtesy of Momondo

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  • The Wikipedia article about Malatya

    Malatya (Armenian: Մալաթիա Malat'ya; Kurdish: Meletî‎; Syriac: ܡܠܝܛܝܢܐMalīṭīná; Ottoman Turkish: مالاتيا‎) is a large city in the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey and the capital of Malatya Province. The city has been a human settlement for thousands of years. The Assyrians called the city Meliddu. Strabo says that the city was known "to the ancients" as Melitene (Ancient Greek Μελιτηνή), a name adopted by the Romans following Roman expansion into the east. According to Strabo, the inhabitants of Melitene shared with the nearby Cappadocians and Cataonians the same language and culture.

    The site of ancient Melitene lies a few kilometres from the modern city in what is now the village of Arslantepe and near the dependant district center of Battalgazi (Byzantine to Ottoman Empire). Present-day Battalgazi was the location of the city of Malatya until the 19th century, when a gradual move of the city to the present third location began. Battalgazi's official name was Eskimalatya (Old Malatya); until recently, it was a name used locally.



    Aslantepe has been inhabited since the development of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent, nearly 6,000 years ago. From the Bronze Age, the site became an administrative center of a larger region in the kingdom of Isuwa. The city was heavily fortified, probably due to the Hittite menace from the west. The Hittites conquered the city in the fourteenth century B.C. In Hittite, melid or milit means "honey", offering a possible etymology for the name, which was mentioned in the contemporary sources of the time under several variations (e.g., Hittite: Malidiya and possibly also Midduwa;Akkadian: Meliddu;Urar̩tian: Melitea).

    After the end of the Hittite empire, the city became the center of the Neo-Hittite state of Kammanu. The city continued old Hittite traditions and styles. Researchers have discovered a palace inside the city walls with statues and reliefs that are examples of the artistic works of that age. The people erected a palace, accompanied by monumental stone sculptures of lions and the ruler. Kammanu was vassal state of Urartu between 804 and 743.

    The Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser I (1115–1077 B.C.) forced the kingdom of Malidiya to pay tribute to Assyria. Malidiya continued to prosper until the Assyrian king Sargon II (722–705) sacked the city in 712 BC. At the same time, the Cimmerians and Scythians invaded Asia Minor and the city declined. Some occupation continued on the site into the Hellenistic and Roman periods — a smithy with four ovens has been excavated from the Roman period. There was a long gap in occupation between the mid-7th century and renewed use of the site in the late 12th or early 13th century.

    Archeologists first began to excavate the site of Aslantepe in the 1930s, led by French archaeologist Louis Delaporte. Since 1961, an Italian team of archaeologists, today led by Marcella Frangipane, has been working at the site.

    Melitene during the Roman Empire

    The Kingdom of Cappadocia, ruled by the House of Ariobarzanes (95–36 BC), became a Roman client in 63 BC. After the Kingdom's annexation by the Roman Empire in 17 AD, the settlement was re-established as Melitene in 72 AD on a different site, as the base camp of Legio XII Fulminata (which continued to be based there until at least the early 5th century according to Notitia Dignitatum). The legionary base of Melitene controlled access to southern Armenia and the upper Tigris. It was the end point of the important highway running east from Caesarea. The camp attracted a civilian population and was probably granted city status by Trajan in the early 2nd century AD, with the rank of Municipium. It is known for being a prolific source of imperial coins minted from the 3rd to the early 5th centuries.

    Procopius wrote admiringly of the temples, agoras and theatres of Melitene, but no evidence of them now remains. It was a major center in the province of Armenia Minor (Armenian: Փոքր Հայք Pokr Hayk,) created by Diocletian from territory separated from the province of Cappadocia. In 392 A.D., emperor Theodosius I divided Armenia Minor into two new provinces: First Armenia, with its capital at Sebasteia (modern Sivas); and Second Armenia, with its capital at Melitene.

    Middle Ages and Ottoman rule

    During the reign of the Emperor Justinian I (527–565), administrative reforms were carried out in this region: The province of Second Armenia was renamed Third Armenia (Armenia Tertia), with its territory unchanged and its capital still at Melitene. Melitene's city walls were constructed in the 6th century by the emperors Anastasius and Justinian. Those that still stand mostly date from the Arab period, perhaps of the 8th century, though retaining the layout of and some remnants from earlier building phases. The city was captured by the Rashidun Caliphate in 638. It then became a base for their raids deeper into the Byzantine Empire, a policy continued by the Abbasids. In the 9th century, under its semi-independent emir Umar al-Aqta, Malatya rose to become a major opponent of the Byzantine Empire until Umar was defeated and killed at the Battle of Lalakaon in 863. The Byzantines attacked the city many times, but did not finally take it until the campaigns of John Kourkouas in 927–934. After successively accepting and renouncing vassal status, the city was finally taken in May 934, its Muslim inhabitants driven out or forced to convert, and replaced by Greek and Armenian settlers.

    © This material from Wikipedia is licensed under the GFDL.