Trick water gardens from 1619 featuring a 200 piece mechanical theater powered by water.
How did the nativity scene come about? What are its names in different countries? What does it look like and what are its features? Which nativity scenes are considered the largest in the world and why? All the answers are below.
Europe is called the ‘Old Continent’ for its long history – which has also been cruel and gruesome more times than not. However, the centuries haven’t only given us wars and misery, they’ve also left us with culture and beauty. There are many European cities with iconic clock towers that used to serve a pretty clear purpose: telling people the time! And, while nowadays we don’t use them for that anymore, the clock towers in Europe have become architectural and historical landmarks of their cities, silent testimonies of the years passing and of the events that have taken place under them.
One of Kraków’s most unique and singular Christmas traditions is the popular creation of ‘Christmas cribs’ or ‘szopki.’ While many churches across the country display elaborate nativity scenes during the holiday season, ‘szopki krakowskie’ (as the local variety are called) are so idiosyncratic to Kraków, that they were just added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Something of a strange cross between a nativity scene, gingerbread house and garish dollhouse, szopki krakowskie are the bizarre result of a slowly evolving folk tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages.
Vertepny theater is a Christmas performance by means of a puppet show, sometimes also with the participation of human actors. It was distributed mainly on the territory of Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, in some regions of Russia. A nativity scene in this case is also called Vertep is a special box in which a puppet show is shown.
Probošt’s mechanical Christmas crib, also known as Bethlehem of Třebechovice or Probošt’s Nativity Scene of Třebechovice, is a wooden mechanical nativity scene that was made by Josef Probošt (1849–1926), Josef Kapucián (1841–1908) and Josef Friml (1861–1946).
The nativity scene (creche) created by Tomáš Krýza (in Czech Krýzovy jesličky) is a large mechanical construction, since 1998 mentioned in Guinness Book of World Records as the largest one in the world.
In the Christian tradition, a nativity scene (also known as a manger scene, crib, crèche (/krɛʃ/or /kreɪʃ/), or in Italian presepio or presepe) is the special exhibition, particularly during the Christmas season, of art objects representing the birth of Jesus. While the term “nativity scene” may be used of any representation of the very common subject of the Nativity of Jesus in art, it has a more specialized sense referring to seasonal displays, either using model figures in a setting or reenactments called “living nativity scenes” (tableau vivant) in which real humans and animals participate. Nativity scenes exhibit figures representing the infant Jesus, his mother, Mary, and her husband, Joseph.
You may find it hard to believe, but what you’re seeing in the picture above is actually a self-operating, programmable machine, capable of writing letters and words with a quill pen, that’s still functioning after a quarter of a millennium.
Even Queen Elizabeth II has some old pieces of jewelry that once belonged to the Russian royal family.
The diamond, emerald and sapphire tiaras of the Romanov dynasty were remarkable for their beauty and opulence, and they were well known to other monarchies in Europe. This has to do with their unusual shape since most were reminiscent of the kokoshnik, an old type of Russian headdress. It was Catherine the Great who first brought the fashion for “Russian dress” to the court, and then in the middle of the 19th century under Nicholas I it was made mandatory. At official receptions, women began to wear diadems with a national flavor—“les tiares russes,” as they are called abroad.