A world-class museum of Christmas tradition

Visitors admire one of the scenes.
Visitors admire one of the scenes. / F. T.
  • The new permanent display of intricate nativity scenes in Mollina is a magnificent tribute to this skilled Spanish custom

For members of the Díaz Caballero foundation it is a dream come true and for residents of Mollina, near Antequera in inland Malaga province, it is an important new cultural and artistic attraction for their village.

The recently opened Museo del Belén (nativity scene museum) is a 5,000-square-metre display of the detailed models created and set up across Spain each year to depict the story of the birth of Christ.

Whether large and breathtakingly impressive, or incredibly detailed and moving, the Spanish ‘Belenes’ are normally only seen around Christmas in towns and villages. However the collection on display in Mollina, which is reportedly the largest in the world, won’t just be open to the public until Epiphany on 6 Janunary. Instead, the Díaz Caballero foundation, dedicated to supporting the nativity scene tradition, plans to attract visitors all year round to its new centre.

In all there are some 60 different scenes on public display with three large centrepiece works. One, by Antonio Bernal, has 200 carved figures set in a cave from floor to ceiling. Another, which represents the eight provinces of Andalucía, is 25 metres long. The third of the largest pieces is circular and has a diameter of ten metres.

Many people have already visited and an official opening by the regional president of Andalucía, Susana Díaz, is planned for later in December.

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