Visiting Krakow during Christmas time gives you an opportunity to see phenomenon of the Krakow nativity scene (szopka krakowska). There is probably no other place where it is possible to find equally unique creations commemorating the Nativity of Christ. This form of nativity scene developed from the 19th century to become some kind of model for contemporary craftsmen.
These cribs are produced for the annual “Contest for the Most Beautiful Krakow Nativity Scene” organized by the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow. In 2013 it’s the 71st Jubilee of this breath-taking contest which has has gained global recognition.
Contest rules allows professional artists and amateurs to compete on equal terms. In the beginning cribs were simple structures made of wood and paper but now most of them have electric lighting and realistic characters, three-dimensional figurines made of wood, plaster, modelling clay or plastic, wearing colourful costumes. It is amazing to see the accuracy with which the cribs are made.
These splendid and unique pieces of art you can see till the 23rd February 2014 in the temporary exhibition area of MHK (The Historical Museum of the City of Krakow) in the Krzysztofory Palace.