You don’t need to wait for Christmas to get in the holiday spirit in Salzburg, Austria. Advent season is full of cheer and traditions (some of which pre-date Christianity altogether).

Christkindlmarkts—stalls selling homemade crafts, ornaments, local food specialties like leberkase and hot mulled wine called gluhwein—line several squares in the city, and special concerts and choir performances fill the air daily.

Revelers roam the street dressed as Krampusse—strange (and slightly menacing) shaggy creatures that symbolize the pagan alpine goddess Perchta. If you touch them or get swatted, consider yourself lucky; they are thought to bring good luck, and are also said to scare away the evil spirits before the arrival of St. Nick.

Once you spend a few days here, it’s not hard to understand how Joseph Mohr, a native Salzburger who wrote the lyrics to “Silent Night,” came up with that atmospheric carol, which was first performed in nearby Oberndorf in 1818 (you can still visit the chapel where it debuted).

Watch this short film by National Geographic photographer Bob Krist to get a taste of Salzburg during Advent season:

Advent in Salzburg” from Bob Krist on Vimeo.

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Comments

  1. Maurene Austria
    Dubai, UAE
    May 16, 2013, 6:41 am

    Thank you Bob. Very inspiring video, I am now so excited to spend Christmas in Salzburg this year.

  2. Claudia Robles
    Santiago de Chile
    January 3, 2013, 7:56 am

    Una época de Adviento mágica, gracias al clima, arquitectura e historia. Muy distinta a la de mi país donde es época de mucho calor.

  3. Martha Sullivan
    Ocala Florida
    December 28, 2012, 2:17 pm

    Ohhh how very beautiful like nothing else in this world.. I am from vienna Austria and I would give ANYTHING to be there and in vienna instead of this loousy tropical rincky Ocala Forida the one wish I know I can never ever get is to go back home after al the most of the time miserable LifeI found in the Good old USA of 64 years. There is nothing like HOME more so this HOME with all the wonder of the Christmas Season.

  4. Paul Zink
    Gloucester, MA
    December 18, 2012, 9:01 pm

    Lovely video, captures some of the the unique spirit of Salzburg. However, I was rather expecting to hear part of a Mozart Divertimento or piano sonata as the soundtrack…

  5. Johanna Bradley
    http://www.restlessjo.wordpress.com
    December 16, 2012, 10:51 am

    Yes, that’s Christmas alright! Those horses were looking pretty damp when we were in Saltzburg last- one May, many years ago.

  6. Nancy D. Brown
    San Francisco, California
    December 14, 2012, 8:54 pm

    Magical video!