The 75th edition of the famous Kraków Cribs (Szopa Krakow) contest takes place today, (Thursday 7th December). From 10.00 the participants will gather, with their colourful hand crafted cribs, around the Adam Mickiewicz monument on the Market Square. At 12noon the cribs will be paraded around the market square before being presented on the stage.
Around 160 cribs are designed and made by people of all ages, from schools to past masters, how have been taking part for many years. Some cribs can be as large as 3m x 4m and take up to a year to design and build. Some are more simple, but no less colourful, made of paper and cardboard, but many are much more elaborate.
The winners will be formally announced on at 12.00 on Sunday 10th December, in the Kupferhaus auditorium in the Krzysztofory Palace. The cribs will be exhibited from 4pm on 10th December to 25th February at the National museum branch in the Krzysztofory Palace in the Strzelecki garden. on the Market Square.
The Kraków Nativity Scenes are a unique style of art, with it’s origins in the 19th century beginning as a contest between bricklayers and contractors, looking for some extra income during the Autumn/Winter.
They began as buildings for portable nativity puppet shows, with the Holy Family located on the first floor of a church with many towers and turrets containing elements specific to old Kraków’s architecture. The tradition continues as a popular hobby before the First World War. The custom was abandoned in the 1920s and 1930s until 1937, when people keen on re-establishing Kraków’s traditions, organised the first Kraków’s Cribs Contest, which has continued since then, and continues to grow, with the exception of a short break during the Second World War.
Read more about the tradition here: