Walking across Freyung I noticed lots of weird knitwear, not worn by people but by trees and benches. Very fancy.
My first thought was, "Do they have guerilla knitters here?" Later I heard that they don't, it was some kind of art project.
Schirmgasse is one of the small streets that connect Altstadt and Neustadt. It has many small, specialized shops which are all private owned. The owners of these shops started a cooperation to promote their street, and of course their businesses, together. The street has its own website where they are all presented, and they have their events throughout the year, like the annual Schirmgassenfest and the "Advent Calendar" .
Schirmgasse Advent calendar is not just one of those where a window is opened and that's it. Every day, from December 1 to 24, another of the shops is in charge of that day's "window", and they make it an event with surprises. It begins at 4 p.m. and lasts about an hour. The day I visited, it was the turn of the photo shop. They had put up torches and a sleigh in the street, two guys were reading texts and singing. They set up a photo exhibition with Landshut photos, the pictures of a calendar for the following year. During these events donations are being collected for a local charity project.
Paintings on old roof tiles are, according to my local friend, popular in the area. Artisans paint all kinds of pictures on them, from romantic to funny. They can be put up by the front door as name tag, with the name of the house's inhabitants written on it, or display the street number of the house. Or they are just decoration for outdoors or indoors.
These here were on sale on the artisans' Christmas makret in Bauzunfthaus.
During the Advent and Christmas season Landshut instals a Krippenweg ("Nativity Trail") through the old town. Following it you get to see nativity scenes in all varieties, sizes, and materials and techniques. Setting up nativitiy scenes is a popular tradition in Landshut, not only inside churches. There are nativities in shop windows, in the courtyards of private houses, in public buildings all over the town centre. Some are of high artistic value, others are home-made crafts. There are woodcarved nativities, ohters are made from clay, stone, paper, metal, wool, fabric... We even saw a Playmobil nativity. (photo 5).
A number of very elaborate and precious small scale nativities is on display in showcases in the vestibule of Stadtresidenz.
The main exhibition of nativities from all over the world is shown in Dominikanerkirche. We sadly missed it, though, because it closes at 5 p.m. and we were too late...
The tourist office publishes a flyer, entitled "Krippen in Landshut", with a map of the town where the locations of all nativities and the route is marked. Try to get hold of a copy, as some of the nativities are hard to find without knowing where they are.
The artisans' Christmas market takes place, as opposed to the main Christmas market, on one weekend only (Saturday and Sunday). In 2012 it was the second Advent weekend, so I assume this is the usual date. It assembles arts and crafts of all kinds you can think of, sold by the producers themselves. Lots of fine stuff, worth looking at. Prices are a bit above average, as can be expected for handmade crafts.
The stalls are set up inside the building and also in the backyard under wooden sheds and in tents. Food and drink, including Glühwein of course, are also available in the backyard, together with live music. In the basement you can watch a blacksmith at work.
Location: at the foot of the town wall, off the end of Dreifaltigkeitsplatz.
Landshut's Christmas market, named Christkindlmarkt, takes place in Freyung square by the church of St Jodok, the prettiest location in town away from traffic and business areas. The market fills the grounds of the little park in the middle. It forms an oblong oval. Since the stalls are pushed close together there are just a few spots where you can enter or exit the market. The passages are not too wide. In peak times, like Friday and Saturday evening, this leads to tight crowds. I was there on a Saturday and we were just able to walk the round with the flow but hardly able to approach any of the stalls. Conclusion: visit and enjoy, but try to avoid the busiest hours.
The market begins on Friday before the first Advent Sunday and stays open until December 23.
An old privilege allows farmers from the surroundings to have a market in Altstadt in the mornings, every day except Friday. These merchants are named Schwaiger. They put up their stalls along the sunny side of the market street. They are all local producers selling fruit and vegetables and flowers from their own gardens, orchards and fields. Some are certified organic producers. The goods don't look as picture-perfect and painted as the supermarket stuff but quality is excellent. Prices are very reasonable since you buy right from the producers. If you want to buy fruit or veggie snacks, check these out.
Sweetness and cuteness alert: A small bakery makes these funny pastries in many varieties. They have kittens, penguins, smurfs, smiling stars, Hello Kitty, koala faces, and so on. My favourites were the squirrels, each with a hazelnut in its paws.
They are about the size of a hand (so one is enough). They have two layers of dough, the kind that is used for biscuits, with a filling in between, jam or chocolate or nutmeg or..., and are decorated with different icings.
The bakery is located in Neustadt, on the side towards the hill, close to the monument in the middle of the street. It's the protruding, mocca-coloured house on the right in photo 3.
Lagerleben is in my opinion one of the best performances that you may attend during Landshuter Hochzeit:
It shows the life in the camps of the ordinary people and lower noble people, who came from Poland and all parts of Bavaria in order to attend the wedding. You enter a wide field, called "Lager & Zeltplatz" (camp) any may walk around in an area with plenty of beergardens and food-stands and there is a fence, behind which you may see the participants of Landshuter Hochzeit. It is a bit like in the Zoo, but you watch the people of 1475 in their costumes, cooking, eating, walking around, chatting with the people at the other side of the fence.
Behind the fence, only the participants are allowed, and they have to leave their cellphones, watches and other modern stuff at home. Only cameras are allowed for the TV-people and the press, BUT they have to wear the right costumes as well !!
Lagerleben is every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the afternoon
entrance-fee is 2 Euros or 10 Euros for 10 entries
Hochzeitszug is the name of the historical wedding parade that will take place every sunday afternoon at 02.00p.m.
2000 participants will walk or ride through Landshut according to an old fresco and as explained in the history-books of Landshut. You may see the bride and the groom, their family and friends, diplomats from other countries, kings and noble people, the servants of the bride, who had to leave Poland togeather with their princess, artists, soldiers etc. - all of them in their traditional historic costumes.
In 1475 the historic parade was going to the wedding-church, and the Hochzeitszug of nowadays will end at the Turnierplatz, where the next performance will start right after the parade :
The tournament of the knights - see my next tip !
Hochzeitszug / wedding parade through Landshut will take place each sunday afternoon at 02.00 p.m.
Seats at the terraces along the street are 24,- or 27,- Euros
lots of standing places are available as well and free of charge !
Reiter & Ritterspiele is an event that always follows the Hochzeitszug on sunday afternoon:
It is a revival of the historic tournament of the knights and was explained in many history-books. Noble knights were fighting tournaments and made competitions in order to win a price, donated by the young princess Hedwig.
Tickets are 26,- and 29,- Euros for the seats
I am not sure if any standing places are available
The Reiter & Ritterspiele start at 05.00p.m.
at Turnierwiese, next to the place where you may watch the life in the camp.
Falconry is a sport dating back to the medieval times and it was great for me to watch this falcon carried by its master in a crowd of hundreds of people without getting nervous.
Falcons will also be part of the festivity called "Lagerleben" , where in a large tent several falcons will sit and wait for the moment they may start to fly away for hunting.
Other places, where you may watch falconry in action and with performances during the summer-season are :
Cochem a small town along the river Mosel
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Burg Maus in St.Goarshausen (Rhine-valley)
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Rosenburg (in Austria)
Landshuter Hochzeit is an event, where you cannot participate, simply because you have some sort of old costume at home. Everything that you see there is absolutely authentic and historians make sure, that everything looks exactely like during the original wedding in the year 1475. The traditional Landshuter drinking-mug is a good excample. You may see it fixed on the right side of the belt, when the "inferior" people are walking. Noble people of course would never carry around such a mug, they have their servants to do so and they would go to noble places to have a drink out of glasses of course.
You may buy this drinking-mug as a souvenir - BUT be prepared it is made of copper and quite expensive !! (200 Euros or even more)
The participants of Landshuter Hochzeit seem to have the greatest fun posing for your pics, they will always smile and will be very friendly. In General you do not have to pay anything when seeing them in the streets, you only pay for the seats at the big parades on saturday and sunday, standing-places along the streets are free of charge and it is recommended to take with you a ladder or something else to step on for a better view. Also the musicians in their great traditional costumes will play in the streets all day long and will end with a nice shouting of HELLO...
....the audience will also shout hello and you never will be able nor ever asked to throw money into a box for the musicians, you may just attend them and enjoy the great music by the traditional instruments.
Visitors are welcome from anywhere in the world, BUT you have to live in the area around Landshut in order to be allowed to participate and play one of the characters.
When you see these people in their fancy and precious costumes you might get the idea, they are just walking around, in fact they are playing a certain character and follow a certain choreography, made by specialists who try to get as close to the real historic wedding as possible.
Don't try to get a historic dress and mingle between them - you will be detected quite soon, as all of these people are part of a club called "Die Förderer" (the supporters), they know each other and all the characters. "Aliens" are detected easily, mostly by their shoes...