Barbarossa Market - Gelnhausen
For four days in May, the medieval centre of Gelnhausen is taken over by the Barbarossa Market (Barbarossamarkt). Named after Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who founded the city in 1170, it is one of the most important folk festivals in the entire Hesse region and attracts many visitors every year.
In 2022, the market is celebrating its 31st anniversary and promises to be bigger and better than ever before.
An event for all the family
This is an extensive event designed for the whole family to enjoy a fun day out together. The beautiful setting of the historic old town forms an ideal backdrop for the bustling market. Across the town, 200 little stalls sell handicrafts and gastronomic treats.
In the main market square, men and women in costumes demonstrate historic crafts and visitors can enjoy ancient culinary delights such as suckling pig and mead, as well as all the usual traditional German treats and regional specialities.
Children who were enchanted by German Christmas markets will find plenty to enjoy here too. Aside from fun fairground rides, there is a full children’s programme including storytelling, magic shows and face-painting.
A particularly popular attraction is the opportunity for both boys and girls to dress up as medieval knights and compete in a fun tournament on cloth horses with prizes for all participants.
Live shows, music and Sunday shopping
In previous years, visitors have enjoyed spectacular street shows with jugglers, acrobats and fire eaters, while each evening, everyone relaxes with a beer and a full programme of live music - although note that this year's festivities might be a little smaller due to coronavirus.
The organisers are keen to use the event to promote the town’s shops so, unusually, many will be open on Sunday from 12pm to 6pm, allowing visitors to enjoy both a visit to the festival and a proper Sunday shopping spree.
The compelling combination of a medieval market in its historic setting with 21st century fairground rides and a music festival provides every reason to visit Gelnhausen this spring.
Visiting Gelnhausen Barbarossa Market
Gelnhausen is 40 kilometres east of Frankfurt am Main, easily accessible if you're driving and just 35 minutes from Frankfurt by train. The market is open on Thursday from 4pm to 11pm; Friday 11am to 11pm; Saturday 11am to 11pm; and Sunday 11am to 10pm