The collections of the Třebechovice Museum of Nativity Scenes include more than four hundred historical and modern nativity scenes made from various materials and built in different regions of the Czech Republic. You can see the interesting development of various forms in the history of making nativity scenes. Christmas in the Czech Republic would not be complete without a lit Christmas tree. However, nativity scenes were built in families long before trees were decorated. Before Christmas, a model of the Bethlehem manger, where Jesus Christ was born according to the Bible, is built.
Unique Mechanical Nativity SceneThe most valuable and admired nativity scene is the unique mechanical Probošt’s nativity scene which has also become part of our Czech national cultural heritage. The museum can be found in Třebechovice near the East Bohemian city of Hradec Králové. The nativity scene is more than 100 years old and includes about 2,000 carved parts and 350 figures. Fifty-one figures move at work, and about one hundred and twenty figures ride on several moving belts.
The figures move by way of a fine mechanical system. The nativity scene is seven metres long, more than three metres wide and almost two metres high. At the centre is the cradle with Baby Jesus and his parents. There are also bowing shepherds and other traditional characters. Other terraces depict moments from the life of common people and craftsmen, inspired by true people from Třebechovice and its surroundings.
The remaining parts are filled with scenes depicting biblical stories about Jesus’ life. The entire work is enclosed with detailed wooden wings.
In addition to the Probošt’s nativity scene, the museum also includes a large glass nativity scene made by glassmakers from Železný Brod, the parts of which were sent to Pope Pius XII. There is also a mechanical nativity scene from Hostinný, in which you can see a dentist pulling out a tooth or a countrywoman sticking her buttocks out of the window.