Kraków Nativity Scenes

Kraków’s Christmas tradition of constructing the Nativity Scenes dates back to the 19th century. In order to preserve the tradition of nativity scene(Polish: szopka) for future generations, in 1937 Jerzy Dobrzycki, director of the Krakow Municipal Art Propaganda Office, organized the first competition. Since then, hundreds of craftsmen have taken place each year except during the war.

A unique and characteristic feature of the szopka is the use of historical buildings of Kraków as a backdrop for the Nativity of Jesus to depict historical, cultural and contemporary social events relating to life in the City of Krakow, Poland and the world. This exquisite szopki can be two meters high and three meters wide with rich decorations, which are inspired by Krakow’s architectural marvels, such as the St. Mary’s Basilica with its easily recognizable spires, the magnificent Wawel Castle, and impressive Kraków Cloth Hall.

In 2018, Kraków Nativity Scene was inscribed on the list of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and became the first and only Intangible Cultural Heritage in Poland so far.

In general, the annual Kraków Nativity Scenes Contest will be held on the first Thursday of December and the result will be launched three days later, but due to the pandemic this year the result of the contest will post online on Official Facebook. Look on the bright side, It becomes easier for us to appreciate traditional arts. 😉

If you haven’t been to Krakow, you definitely should take a trip to this stunning historic city. Check out our tour package to explore fantastic attractions and make the best of your time in Krakow with us! 🤩 Cracow City Break 👈

Photo: Bogusław Świerzowski / krakow.pl