Europe’s longest living nativity lights up Postojna Grotto

Five kilometers of route, 18 scenes performed, 33 years of experience: this is the spectacle of the nativity scene staged in the marvelous Postojna cave in Slovenia. From December 25 to 30, 150 professional actors and extras offered visitors a unique event, as well as a message of peace and reconciliation for all humanity.

Paolo Ondarza – Postojna

A light has come to enlighten the darkness of the world. The mystery of God made man, told by the evangelists Luke and Matthew, has fascinated generations of artists who, to reconstruct the Holy Night of more than two thousand years ago, like the first performance scene by Saint Francis of Assisi at Greccio in 1223, drew elements from tradition and the apocryphal narrative. Among these is the cave which the “Pseudo-Matthew” mentions between the 5th and 6th centuries when he says: “Three days after the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the most holy Mary came out of the cave and, having entered a stable, laid the child in a manger, and the ox and the donkey worshiped him.”

Between stalactites and stalagmites

The rocky cave as the place where the Virgin gave birth to the Savior has thus become a reference in the collective imagination of nativity scenes around the world. This is also why it is particularly impressive to attend the spectacle which has been taking place for thirty-three years, from December 25 to 30, in the breathtaking setting of the Postojna caves, in Slovenia: the largest and most visited karst caves from Europe, discovered 200 years ago. Since 1989, that of “Park Postojnska Jama” has housed the longest living nativity scene on the Old Continent, with 5 km of route, 3.5 of which to be covered amidst the natural beauty of limestone encrustations sculpted over millions of years. .

Small train in the Postojna caves

Small train in the Postojna caves

The transport is done on board a small train: it is the first railway in the world inside a limestone cave. The rest of the sacred spectacle takes place on foot, along the various “rooms” of the caves, among the majestic concretions, stalactites and stalagmites, shaped by the flow of tiny drops of water whose origin is lost in the night. the times.

One of nature’s most sublime and awe-inspiring manifestations pays homage to God incarnated in a child, an event that revolutionized and redeemed human history. In the presence of such magnificence, one feels all the smallness of creaturely being, but at the same time one feels part of the millennial history of salvation.

Two shows in one

During the 90 minutes of the show, more than 150 actors, extras, musicians and singers perform live underground, at a constant temperature of 10°, on a single stage, surrounded by lights and sounds that captivate and envelop visitors. . 18 biblical scenes are staged. The sound and light effects are designed with total respect for the site, in the name of sustainability and concern for preserving an invaluable natural heritage.

The Nativity in the Postojna Caves

The Nativity in the Postojna Caves

“It’s a challenge”explains Kevin Klun Valencic, a young academic who accompanies visitors on the route of the Postojna caves: “First of all for artists and extras who have to stay inside caves for many hours. The Nativity is prepared throughout the year: many people from the local population participate in it. We work with total respect for the environment. Speleologists assure us that the temperature parameters of the caves are not altered. When visitors come out, they remain speechless, impressed by the spectacle of the caves and the longest nativity scene in Europe: with a single ticket, you see two things”.

A message of peace

The Christmas show takes place from 1.30 p.m., every 15 minutes: from the Annunciation to the journey of Mary and Joseph to the census, from the appearance of the angel to the shepherds to the journey of the Three Kings, and finally to the captivating Nativity scene. “The message of this nativity scene is a wish for reconciliation and peace for the earth.the director of the Postojna Caves site, Marjan Batagelj, told a press conference.

It would be simplistic to call this a mere performance. It is for all intents and purposes due to the level of performances of the actors and singers. But the Postojna nativity scene is also a spiritual experience, a help to enter into the mystery of Christmas and to adore, like the shepherds, the tenderness and omnipotence of God, who still comes to dwell among us today.

Europe’s longest living nativity lights up Postojna Grotto – Vatican News