Christmas Fact 22

German Advent Calendar: Fact of the Day

22. Dezember – Der Adventskalender

Nativity Scene – Weihnachtskrippe


Floating nativity scene on the Wörthersee’s Velden Bay in Austria. PHOTO: Johann Jaritz, Wikimedia Commons

The first known three-dimensional representation of the nativity scene (Krippenbild or Weihnachtskrippe), as we understand it today, appeared in Prague in 1562, although theatrical and other representations of the manger scene date back to the 1200s. Following the Prague model, nativity scenes later appeared in churches in Munich (1607), Innsbruck (1608) and Salzburg (1615).

Especially in wood-carving regions, beautifully carved wooden versions of die Krippe (crib, créche, manger) and nativity figures are still traditional. In some regions, large life-sized replicas of the scene of Jesus’ birth are annual attractions. Self-made miniature Krippen by children and hobbyists are also popular. See the links below for some German and Austrian Krippenbild examples.


An elaborate German paper nativity scene from 1885. The figures are about five inches (13 cm) tall. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

WEB > Holzschnitzereien aus dem Grödnertal in München
Krippenfiguren – woodcarved figures
WEB > Weihnachtskrippe – Wikipedia, Deutsch
WEB > Nativity scene – Wikipedia, English


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