Christmas Markets, Concerts and Art in Vienna this December
1 December 2016
With the arrival of December comes the usual influx of Christmas clichés, as phrases like ‘Winter Wonderland’ and ‘Christmas Dream’ are used generously to evoke feelings of festivity; and over time the conviction of these words is lost. That is until you experience Vienna in December. Smells, sounds and sights combine harmoniously to reignite feelings of Christmas you haven’t experienced since you were a child; and even the weather is in on the act. Snowfall is commonplace in December and the white that adorns Vienna’s beautiful and diverse architecture truly does create a dreamlike aura. A stay at Grand Hotel Wien, allows you to capture the essence of a Viennese Christmas, as our location in the beating heart of the city places you on the doorstep to the best in Classical Music, Christmas Markets and Cultural offerings that the capital has to offer.
Christkindlmarkt on the Rathausplatz
11th November – 26th December
The age-old tradition of Christmas Markets in Vienna is one that is embraced whole-heartedly, and a stroll around the city centre will have you stumble across many illuminated squares teeming with life. There is a wealth of Christkindlmarkt’s to choose from in the city, but our favourite is the Rathausplatz, which is located just 8 minutes from Grand Hotel Wien.
The exterior of the market is a spectacle in itself, and the illuminated Rathaus (Town Hall) and its Gothic façade, perfectly captures the festive buzz that surrounds the square. As you enter the market, sweet and savoury smells combine in the air to emit a unique aroma only produced by Christmas, and no end of festive fancies lie in wait. Must tries are Lebkuchen (ginger bread), Maroni (sweet chestnuts) and of course Bratwurst (fried sausages). With no fewer than 150 stalls, locating somewhere to eat is not a problem; and once you’ve built up a thirst, the vast selection of Gluhwein (mulled wine) and punch on offer will aid you in combatting the cool Viennese air.
Shopping at the Christkindlmarkt is also a pleasant experience. Christmas in modern times can be accused of being overcome by commercialism and cheap commodities, but Vienna prides itself on the inclusion of stalls of only the highest quality. During the winter months, artisans from across Europe flock to Vienna in their thousands, offering a plethora of handcrafted goods. Find everything from jewellery, art, clothing, and decorations, through to toys, gadgets, games and items that possess that personal touch; leaving you spoilt for choice when choosing gifts for loved ones.
There is also no shortage of entertainment at the Christkindlmarkt. A short walk to the outskirts of the market leads you to the illuminated ice-skating rink, and inside the Town Hall there is an area dedicated to children, where they can learn how to make Christmas cookies or candles. Saturday and Sunday’s also offer up additional entertainment, as international choirs frequent the market singing familiar carols, which will soon inject some Christmas spirit into those not yet infected by the festive joviality of Vienna.
‘Christmas in Vienna’ Concert
Enjoy a gourmet meal or a glass of fine-wine at Grand Hotel Wien then meander across to the Wiener Konzerthaus, Vienna State Opera or Musikverein, which are all located just a mere 5 minute stroll from our hotel.
Widely regarded as the musical capital of the world, Vienna is home to a wealth of classic and contemporary concerts throughout the year; but the arrival of Christmas generates much excitement within the city, as special festive concerts make their home in the prestigious venues of Vienna over the winter months. Both the Vienna State Opera and Musikverein are this December host to some of the finest music to be heard across Europe, but our highlight is the annual ‘Christmas in Vienna’ Concert at Wiener Konzerthaus.
Designed with a sense of space and classical balance, Wiener Konzerthaus’ Great Hall has hosted innumerable famous concerts in the past, and this year it will be ignited with the eclectic sounds of ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna; described as Austria’s most versatile orchestra for their ability to seamlessly master rarities of the 18th century as equally as contemporary pieces. Joining them will be the world renowned Vienna Boys’ Choir, who for the last six centuries (with a few changes in the line-up) have been synonymous with Vienna at Christmas, and their vast repertoire of harmoniously delivered noise truly marks the beginning of the festive season, as their angelic voices ring out from the many famed venues in the Austrian capital. Also in the line-up are the elegant voices of Angela Denoke, Vesselina Kasarova, Dmytro Popov, Gunter Haumer; who, under the supervision of conductor, Erwin Ortner; promise to deliver an enigmatic performance which will truly set the festive season alight.
Monet to Picasso: The Batliner Collection
If perhaps you want a brief break from Christmas, then look no further than the Albertina which is located just a 5 minute walk from Grand Hotel Wien.
Throughout December, you can pay a visit to the museum and their important compilations of Modernist art in the form of the Batliner Collection. The display begins with a look into the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works of Monet, Degas, Renoir, Gauguin, Cézanne and Toulouse-Lautrec. Also exhibited at the Albertina are examples of German Expressionism, from the groups of Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter, and the art of New Objectivity, with works by Hofer, Wacker and Sedlacek. An in-depth focus on Austrian art comprises works by Kokoschka and paintings by Egger-Lienz and Walde, and the great diversity of the Russian avant-garde is represented by paintings by Goncharova, Malevich, and Chagall.
The presentation is topped off with numerous chefs-d’oeuvre by Picasso, ranging from his early Cubist pictures and works from his mature period of the 1940s, to superb prints that have not yet been exhibited, as well as paintings from his experimental late period. Overall the exhibition offers an insight into the revolutionary ideas of classical modernism and offers a relief from everything festive, should you want to evade the essence of Christmas in Vienna.
Christkindlmarkt picture sourced from Wikimedia Commons and is in the public domain.
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