"Krakow?s "Szopka" Christmas Cribs" Top 5 Page for this destination Krakow Local Custom Tip by matcrazy1

Krakow Local Customs: 270 reviews and 333 photos

  Krakow's "szopka" goes to Mickiewicz monument
by matcrazy1

Krakow?s famous ?szopka??pronounced ?shopka??Christmas cribs are portable theaters for traditional puppet Nativity plays. The ornate structures can be two meters high and three meters wide. Those colorful, ingenious, richly decorated and brightly illuminated extravaganzas take fantastic shapes inspired by Krakow?s architectural marvels, the bizarre spires of the church of Virgin Mary?s in the first place. In the past the Christmas cribs were mostly works of Krakow masons in their idle weeks of the Polish rainy late autumn. Nowadays it is a pastime of many Krakow dwellers of all walks of life. And the city boasts several dynasties of Christmas-crib makers where two or three generations construct brand-new creches every year.
The City of Krakow Historical Museum at 35 Main Market Square has collected the best examples of traditional Christmas cribs for decades. And every year the museum?s contest gathers crib builders with their latest works round the monument to Adam Mickiewicz at the Main Market Square where a plethora of newly built ?szopka? cribs of various size can be seen before noon on the first Thursday of December. Then the successful entries are displayed in the City of Krakow Historical Museum throughout the holiday season.
At the same time every Krakow church takes pride in its own Christmas crib?the Nativity scene that is usually lavish and elaborate, often in motion, and sometimes centuries old. Those most popular can be found in the historical city center?in the late-17th-century church of Annunciation at the Loretanska street, in the 17th-century church of Annunciation at the Karmelicka street, in the early-17th-century church of St. Peter and St. Paul?s and in the adjacent 13th-century church of St. Andrew?s (both at the Grodzka street).

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  • Written Dec 8, 2002
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