In this blog we usually make notes about history of the belenismobut DIY tips for your crib or highlight some of the nativity scenes that, for one reason or another, arouse our attention. Today we will focus on this last aspect, showing you some of the historical births that are conserved in our country. Discover the most valuable historic nativity scenes in Spain.


The most valuable historic nativity scenes in Spain

Did you know the Nativity tradition in our country dates from 5 centuries ago? Some of the oldest cribs came to Spain in really incredible circumstances, and its conservation highlights the interest with which governors, institutions and individuals have pampered these works of art. Let's see some of the most important ones.


# 1.- Bethlehem of the Prince

Possibly, one of the most famous Neapolitan nativity scenes in Spain, because your visit every Christmas is a tradition for locals and tourists from all over Europe. Driven by Carlos III and his wife, who brought him from Naples when they arrived in Spain to govern the country. The manger was installed in the Buen Retiro Palace in Madrid, since the Royal Palace was still under construction.

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Detail of the Bethlehem of the Prince. Image: Fascinating Spain

Not happy with the brilliance of the manger, little by little it was enlarged with the contribution of different Spanish sculptors, like Ginés or Esteve, getting to form a set of more than 4.000 figures. Good part of them they are conserved in the Royal Palace of Madrid, where you can see them. Maria Amalia de Sajonia, wife of the monarch, was one of the great promoters of the Nativity scene in Spain, there for 1759 Christmas. He died the following year.


# 2.- Bethlehem of Jesus

Although less known than the previous one, tradition says it is the oldest in Spain. His arrival on the island of Mallorca in the late fifteenth century is legendary: in the midst of a great storm, the captain of a ship carrying seven nativity scenes promised God to give one of them to whom he showed a safe conduct to the land.

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Bethlehem of Jesus. Image: ABC

That light came from the Monastery of Our Lady of the Angels of Jesus, in Palma de Mallorca, where the wooden figures of this famous nativity scene were attributed to the Alamanno brothers. Reality or myth, nowadays it can be seen in the Church of the Annunciation of Palma. As a curiosity, all his angels and pastors play different musical instruments.


# 3.- Coral crib of the Royal Barefoot

Although its authors are unknown, the nativity scene is dated around 1570. With figures carved in coral, silver and bronze, it was a gift from the Italian city of Trapani to the monarch Felipe II, who deposited it in the Monastery of the Descalzas Reales, founded years before by his sister Juana de Austria. It is still preserved in this classicist building, declared a National Heritage Site as a Royal Palace.


# 4.- Bethlehem of the Augustinian Recollects

In the middle of the 17th century, Don Manuel de Zúñiga y Fonseca, Count of Monterrey and viceroy of Naples, sent this Neapolitan nativity scene to the convent where his daughter Inés had been sent with 4 years. Its biggest peculiarity is that the Nativity is located in a charro house of the time and that the figures, of great size, are articulated. The clothes are satin, embroidered with silver and gold thread. If you want to see it, in this Salamanca convent you can contemplate the groups composed of the Mystery, the Kings, shepherds and musical angels.

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Bethlehem of the Augustinian Recoletas of Salamanca. Image:

In the next post we will see other 4 historical cribs of Spain with great artistic value. For the moment, which of them have you been able to visit at any time?


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