Burgenland Insight by Karin Sawetz,
(30 November 2013)
Gingerbread and bags at an Austrian castle
Today, I visited the Christmas market at Castle Forchtenstein in Burgenland - the most eastern region of Austria. The workings on the castle started already in the 13th century. Such as it is common for castles, the oldest part was extended by new buildings through the centuries. The around 800 years old castle grew especially during 300 years to the current dimensions. The bastion - a 'firewall' around the main buildings and courts, made Castle Forchtenstein invulnerable in the 17/18th century. The crocodile (picture last row, left) - an animal which is known for its protective armor, was hung up in the early 18th century as symbol for the quality of this military fortress. (History of Castle Forchtenstein)
At first I thought that the market is installed in the several courts of the castle. But the organizers opened the houses where a long tunnel runs inside the fortress with exits to the courts. In this tunnel, visitors can walk along the booths of arts & crafts and culinary goods. I found a booth also in the hall of one portal (on view on the image last row, left). What can't be depicted on this page are the olfactory impressions of the walk which reached from coffee scents over refreshing notes to warm, cocooning atmospheres.
Second row, left: The gingerbread creations by Hungarian folk artist Ivanicsné Szabó Gitta who is - how I later read online - a champ in aerobatics and parachuting, impressed with lace alike decorative patterns and colorful glazes.
Second row, right: The handmade fashion pieces by West-Styrian artist Klaudia Schneider are inspired by the Central European Alps clothing tradition called 'Tracht'. The bags are made mainly of the Alps region signature material felt and show 'Tracht'-typical details such as roses, deer horn buttons or cow skin.
Third row, right: The ceramics for in- and outdoor are by Töpferstube Fraller. The booth threw a mystical light into the tunnel.
I left the tunnel and landed time-capsuled in a Middle Ages court where traveling merchants once probably served their goods to the inhabitants of the castle. Today, the people at the huts served punch, sweeties, sausages and beer, while in one corner of the court, children sung in angel costumes. There is only one place I didn't visit: witch Gisela's workshop. Who knows!
The market at Castle Forchtenstein is open until tomorrow, 1st December 2013.