Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage

The Culture of Nativity Sets in Marktredwitz

Christmas time is traditionally Nativity time in Marktredwitz. Stones, roots, moss and berries are used to create an artistic mountain landscape in miniature, in which hundreds of small clay figures recreate everyday scenes from the mountains. At the centre of the Nativity scenes in Marktredwitz is the understanding of the meaning and history of the figures and scenes.

Illustration Immaterielles Kulturerbe

Facts & Figures

  • Crucial date: Annually at Christmas time
  • Inscription: 2021
  • Domain: Traditional craftsmanship, social practices, rituals and festive event
  • Where to find: Markredwitz


City of Marktredwitz
Stefan Reichel

The Nativity scenes in Marktredwitz combine traditional scenes with historical figures and local characters. The Christmas story blends into the landscape with other scenes created according to the individual ideas of their creators. The size of the Nativity scenes varies, and some span over an area of up to 40 square metres. The knowledge of the production, arrangement, care and storage of the objects is as much a part of the custom as the stories of the scenes and figures depicted. The crib builders pass on specific knowledge and skills to the next generations. This includes the production, arrangement, care and storage of the objects, as well as the stories surrounding the scenes and figures. Despite the geographical proximity to the Fichtelgebirge, nativity scenes depict exclusively Alpine landscapes. This can be explained by the local romanticization of the Alps. After having built the nativity sets, their builders invite the local citizens to watch the sets together.

Nativity trail with over 20 stops

The local population revived the Nativity trail in Marktredwitz in 1989. Since then, between 26 December and 6 January, many Marktredwitz residents open their homes to present their works. The Nativity trail includes 20 to 25 stops that sometimes attract thousands of visitors.


Bundesweites Verzeichnis Immaterielles Kulturerbe - Jubiläumsausgabe.
Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission, 2023

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