Christmas spectacle in Postojna Cave


Christmas spectacle in Postojna cave


Thirty years ago, we were the first non-religious outfit who dared to set up a live nativity scene in Slovenia and today we are announcing the biggest Christmas spectacle in history in Postojna Cave. Between the 25th and 30th of December, the Living Nativity in Postojna Cave will be the most dazzling experience of this year’s Advent. 

The unique story of the miracle of birth, the best Slovenian vocalists, rich costumes and a mysterious motif of underground snow globes will create the extra pull to draw tourists from all over the world during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

The 30th Living Nativity at Postojna Cave was inspired by the world-famous snow globe. “It’s an item that brings magic and joy to people,” said Postojna Cave Board Chairman Marjan Batagelj, “and that’s the very essence of Christmas, isn’t it?” Behind the symbolism of the snow globe, which will play host to the magnificent musical programme in the Concert Hall, spearheaded by opera singer Urška Kastelic, there is a deeper meaning as well. The year that is drawing to the close marked 200 years of organised tourism in Postojna Cave and we used it to remember our first visitors, the most frequent among those being Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, a great lover and collector of snow globes, who awarded their inventor E. Perzy (1908) for his “unique creation”.


The Living Nativity in Postojna Cave is considered to be among the world’s ten most beautiful Christmas creations, and with 5 kilometres still retains the record for the planet’s longest underground live nativity scene. This year they will feature a roster of over 150 dazzling performers, with Kastelic joined by the likes of Nuša Derenda and Luka Sešek. Costume designers are meanwhile creating their own enchanting fairy tale this year. They have used a kilometre and a half of precious gilded cloth for a festive Angel costume, which simply enchants as it finishes in the Concert Hall. The supernatural beauty of angels is moreover accentuated by unique and original costumes, modelled after the likeness of underground forms. The spirit of biblical times is touched-up by the creative play of contemporary fabrics, artful stylization of folds and layering.


When Marjan Batagelj saw the Postojna Cave model in the simple workshop of a fellow village resident for the first time, he dropped to his knees in awe. He carefully observed the then still unfinished mechanical manger by the 31-year-old Bernard Bole and, enraptured, encouraged him to continue working on it. As a result, the miniature Jamski Dvorec mansion continued to expand, railway was laid out through the cave, new “spaghetti” stalactites grew, and the olm gave birth to her young. In its current version, a toy train passes by the Holy Family, you can hear a scythe being sharpened, a fisherman has just pulled a pike out of the Pivka River and everything is in motion. The unique mechanical manger, having been designed for over 10 years by the miniatures enthusiast, has truly come to life. When watching the model, the eyes of even the most grown-up among us begin to sparkle and we all turn into children.


The Living Nativity in Postojna Cave presents the best approximation of the original, erected almost 800 years ago by Francis of Assisi in the cave near the solitary hilltown of Greccio. While looking at our own cave backdrop 30 years ago, the idea of a live nativity scene in Postojna Cave was born quite spontaneously. Our first attempt was a modest one, a static theatre piece erected in Tartarus, a section of the cave not part of today’s tourist trail. The idea was bold and revolutionary, as this was the first live nativity scene in Slovenia outside of a religious building. Despite the risks, the show was extremely well received and demand increased year by year. After modest beginnings, which consisted of just three biblical scenes, the Christmas experience increased in scope and became more dynamic year after year. In late 1990s, the scene was extended along the tourist trail, scenes were added, the first artist, Elda Viler, performed in 2005, while nowadays we organise a 90-minute Christmas tale, which is enacted several times per day for five days. The magnificent performance now comprises 18 biblical and musical scenes and the Living Nativity whose fame transcends Slovenia’s borders and reverberates around the world as its most enchanting image of Christmas.

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