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Kraków Nativity Scenes Contest 2020

Krakow Christmas tradition of recreating the nativity scene dates back to the 19th century

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Disclaimer: Due to COVID-19 concerns, many events might be canceled, postponed, or changed into limited versions, sometimes at very short notice. Please check with event organizers directly for the latest updates (view the "External Resources" section below).

The annual Kraków Nativity Scenes Contest (Szopka Competition or Christmas Crib Contest) is held on the first Thursday of December. Representatives from the Historical Museum of Krakow organize the event at the Main Market Square of the Old Town. At 10 am, contestants bring their handcrafted szopkas, whereas other Krakowians and tourists gather to watch the exhibition and to choose the best masterpieces. At 12 pm, the participants form a procession and walk around the square to the stage, where they officially present their works. The winners are announced on Sunday,

Krakow szopkas are well known all over the country because local masters appeal to historical landmarks. The most common background for Krakow’s scene of the Nativity of Jesus Christ are St. Mary's Basilica, Sukiennice trade hall, Wawel Castle, and other recognizable buildings.

Local szopka masters are very creative and ambitious. Some structures are quite small, whereas others may be up to 6.5 feet (2 m) high and 10 feet (3 m) wide. Bethlehem itself is often placed on the second floor, and the first floor is reserved for historical figurines.

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