Cracovian Christmas Cribs (Szopki) at Warsaw's Royal Castle
Dec 10 - Feb 2 2022
Pl. Zamkowy 4
This exhibition at Warsaw's Royal Castle is a unique opportunity to see the largest display of Cracovian Christmas cribs (szopki krakowskie) ever held in the capital. A bizarre folk tradition unique to Kraków, these 'Christmas cribs' are actually a strange amalgam of a traditional nativity scene, gingerbread house, and garish dollhouse based on iconic Cracovian architecture and featuring local folk heroes like the sorceror Pan Twardowski, Tadeusz Kościuszko, Pope John Paul II, Lajkonik, the Wawel Dragon and more, in addition to Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The result of a slowly evolving folk tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages, Cracovian craftsmen bring these fanciful creations to the city's market square every December to be judged in the annual Cracovian Christmas Cribs competition, and then displayed in the Kraków Museum's annual exhibition of that year's output. Added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2018, seeing the szopki is an holiday tradition for most Cracovian families, and now those in the capital can have the same experience. Over 50 szopki will be on loan from the vast collection of the Kraków Museum throughout the holiday period - don't miss it!