What to see in Alicante
Another interesting and peculiar museum in Alicante is its original Nativity Scene Museum, located in a strategic area of the old part of the city. The museum contains an extraordinary permanent collection of nativity scenes, many of them of enormous antiquity, demonstrating the importance of this tradition in Spain and its former colonies.
Nativity scenes, known in other countries as mangers, are complex and attractive dioramas evoking the birth of Jesus in the town of Bethlehem (hence the name) and include the portal with the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and the Child, little houses, mountains, figures with offerings, shepherds with their sheep and figures of the three wise men.
The tradition of nativity scenes dates back to the year 1300, when the Cathedral of Barcelona registered the official creation of the first nativity scene. Later, in the 16th century, during the Counter-Reformation, the assembly and creation of nativity scenes was promoted at a popular level throughout Catholic Europe, reaching its zenith in southern Italy during the Baroque period, when nativity scenes of extraordinary beauty were created. After the conquest of the Americas, the Spanish brought this tradition to the New World. It quickly became popular among the colonies, which enriched them with their own idiosyncratic details.
Many of the nativity scenes on display in the museum are the works of great artists who are part of the Association of Nativity Scene Makers of Alicante. There is also a large collection of nativity scenes made in other parts of the world that stand out for their creativity and originality.