Germany's popular Christmas markets are back in business, and the Gluehwein is flowing in Heidelberg's old town — under the city's landmark castle.

A nativity play at the traditional Christmas market in Heidelberg, Germany. Photo / AP
A nativity play at the traditional Christmas market in Heidelberg, Germany. Photo / AP

Spread across several city squares, Heidelberg's Christmas market offers some 140 stalls along with an ice rink and a carrousel for children. The market is open well into the evening through December 22.

Ice skating at the traditional Christmas market in Heidelberg, Germany. Photo / AP
Ice skating at the traditional Christmas market in Heidelberg, Germany. Photo / AP

Christmas markets large and small are a feature of most German cities during Advent.

Santa Claus waiting for customers to be photographed with. Photo / AP
Santa Claus waiting for customers to be photographed with. Photo / AP

Heidelberg's is one of the most picturesque, with the illuminated castle presiding over the festivities.

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Gingerbread hearts. Photo / AP
Gingerbread hearts. Photo / AP

Traditional offerings include gingerbread hearts, often emblazoned with Christmas messages.

- AP