Dazzling Cracovian nativity scenes take us into a festive atmosphere!
Modelled on the architecture of Wawel and other important buildings in Kraków and, making of model nativity scenes is one of our city’s most beautiful traditions and symbols. It’s impossible to imagine Christmas in Kraków without the dazzling miniature towers of the Basilica of St Mary or the gleaming golden dome of the Sigismund Chapel, providing a special setting for the Holy Family.
The custom, started by local stonemasons who were short of work in winter, dates back to the 19th century, and for the last seven decades participants in the competition organised by the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków have been gathering at the Adam Mickiewicz statue on the first Thursday of December. Their works will be presented at the post-contest exhibition for the next several weeks.
Initiated last year by the museum and the Krakow Festival Office, the campaign All Around Nativity Scenes, held between 6 December and 2 February, presents also the most beautiful works from recent years. Shop fronts, banks and restaurants around the Main Market Square, InfoKraków tourist information points and Factory Kraków shopping centre display over twenty elaborate constructions in their windows. We will learn about their authors and discover the stories they recall in their work. Even though the competitions rules are strictly defined and a requirement for the nativity scenes to qualify, the artists come up with new and inventive ideas every year. As well as classic nativity scenes and legendary figures, they feature dolls recalling actual events. Running alongside competition traditions, this year we will see specially commissioned scenes over two metres tall, displayed at various points throughout the city to accentuate the festive atmosphere. (Dorota Dziunikowska, “Karnet” monthly)