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Living nativity in Postojna Cave

The underground world of Karst is full of surprises. This is particularly true during the Christmas and holiday season, when the biblical story of Jesus’ birth is re-enacted among the stalactites and stalagmites of Postojna Cave. While viewing the performance, visitors can also admire the most beautiful cave formations as they walk through the Postojna subterranean world.

The merry month of December has started with the lighting of the Christmas tree in the Concert Hall of Postojna Cave, while the climax of the festive events will take place between 25 and 30 December when the living nativity will be staged in Postojna Cave for the thirty-second time. Preparations for the spectacle took several months.

  • The Train in Postojna Cave

    The exciting train ride. Photo: Postojna Cave

»We anticipate the largest spectacle in the history of the living nativity in Postojna Cave,« promises the President of the Management Board of the Postojnska jama company, Marjan Batagelj. »The current situation in the world calls for peace and love. And we are dedicating this year’s living nativity to peace. In the underground and on the surface.«

In addition to the exciting train ride, the visitors will be able to see 16 fairytale beautiful biblical scenes with as many as four top Slovenian vocalists.

The performance in Postojna Cave is certainly one of the most beautiful images of Christmas in the world. The visitors get to enjoy the magnificent atmosphere of the Karst underground, the splendour of holiday lights and evergreen Christmas melodies.

With regard to its acoustics, the cave is a splendid venue, but it is also an extremely challenging acoustic ambience that is taken into consideration by the organisers when selecting the performers on the basis of the emotional quality of their voices and the virtuosity of their singing.

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Postojna Cave as a unique work of art

Postojna Cave is striving for the living nativity to become part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, which is why they have started the preparations more than six months before the event. The organisers of the event and the director are hatching new ideas and seeking exceptional concepts that have not been seen before and which blend well with the environment. Local actors who play the role of Joseph are already grooming their thick beards, while the unique and prestigious creations of costume makers have been tried by the actors. »Since many characters in the show practically grow with the living nativity, we also know exactly how much our youngest angels have grown in a year,« says the event coordinator, smiling.

"Postojna Cave is a fantastic natural monument, which is presented to the visitors as a magnificent natural art of work during the holiday season,« explains the team of Magical Theatre Serpentes, with which Postojna Cave has been cooperating for a number of years when preparing the living nativity.

»This is attained with all possible forms of expression that are available: light, video, music, unique costumes and masks, stylised body language and the emotional beauty of live singing.«

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Unique event

The living nativity is also a unique event on a global scale because it connects us, as a community, with a symbolic journey through the subterranean labyrinth and inspires us to first find our inner peace and draw from it the energy for peace and love in the world.

The event was first organised in the Postojna Karst underground in 1989.

The idea came about completely incidentally. When director Grega Tozon, director of the original living nativity, together with the Slovenian Octet and the staff of the Postojna jama company, was looking for a location in which to film the octet, he saw the cave sculpture called Canopy at the Tartarus Panel. At that moment, he remembered the nativity scene that was set up at his home every year when he was a child. He thus got the idea to set up the living nativity in Postojna Cave. Over the years, the living nativity in Postojna Cave became a permanent feature enhanced by various creators and approaches.

Author: Polona Prešeren

Date: 22. December 2022

Time to read: 2 min