One of Germany’s oldest and most famous Christmas markets has fallen victim to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Travel and Leisure reports that for the first time since World War II, December in Franconia’s largest city will be very different.

The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, one of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets – records date back to 1628 – draws two million visitors to the city annually, the report said.

For more than 70 years, during the four weeks of Advent, Travel and Leisure reports that visitors have come to visit the city’s main market square, which becomes a “village of wooden stalls” bedecked with red-and-white striped cloths.

The report describes a feeling of “cozy cheeriness” that prevails – people browse the dozens of vendors that occupy the stalls, offering unique handcrafts and gifts; and visitors, as well as locals, savor the “scent of grilled sausages, sweet roasted almonds, and mulled wine wafting through the city,” the report noted. For visitors and locals alike, the report said, Christkindlesmarkt is an “unmistakable hallmark of the season.”

Travel and Leisure reports, however, that things will be very different in Nuremberg this December. Due to rising COVID-19 infection rates, Nuremberg Mayor Marcus König confirmed that the Christkindlesmarkt is canceled for 2020.

The report quoted König, who said in a statement on Oct. 26, “This decision is very difficult for us,” acknowledging the importance of the event’s tradition. He added, “After much deliberation, and in order to protect the population, we have come to the conclusion that the Christmas market will not take place this year,” the report quoted.

The report said that, although city officials had initially been hopeful to move forward with the festivities – “under strict distancing and hygiene rules with the market dispersed across multiple areas of town,” – eventually they concluded that doing so would send the wrong message. König said, “We cannot justify an additional gathering of many thousands of people in the city center,” the report quoted.

The Christkindlesmarkt was put on hold in the midst of World War II, until 1948, said the Travel and Leisure report. In a city that was mostly left destroyed, its revival offered hope and a reason to celebrate, marking the beginning of a new chapter for Nuremberg, the report noted..

Until 2020, the market has been enjoyed each year since.