The Giant Mechanical Nativity Scene from the Ore Mountains

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One highlight in the new permanent exhibition at the newly reopened Museum of European Cultures is the mechanical 'Weihnachtsberg', a giant nativity scene set in a hillside town that originates from the Erzgebirge, near the border of Germany and the Czech Republic, in the 19th century.
Mechanischer Weihnachtsberg aus dem Erzgebirge
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum Europäischer Kulturen / Ute Franz-Scarcigalia

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Museum of European Cultures
Arnimallee 25
14195 Berliini
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Museum Europäischer Kulturen

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The Weihnachtsberg is more than an ordinary nativity scene: spread over an area covering 15 square metres, over 300 figures reinact the most important points in the life of Christ, ranging from the Annunciation to his birth and the Passion.

Almost half of the figures move about. Its constructor, Max Vogel, created a small technical wonder hidden below the scene, made up of hundreds of wheels and cogs, shafts and leavers, wires and threads. Visitors can observe the sheep as they move about the meadows, the procession of the Three Kings making its way to the stable in Bethlehem and the Holy Family embarking on their flight into Egypt.
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