Tucked into the crypt below Peterskirche is an annual display of nativity scenes, dating to 1959.  On a cold and drizzly day, this was a beautiful diversion from Christmas markets and holiday errands.


 The design for the church was inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, but made to fit a considerably smaller space.

The exhibit is the production of the talented Verein von Krippenfreunden Wien-NÖ, the Association of Nativity Friends of Vienna and Lower Austria. They offer courses in nativity set construction and all of the accessories for said nativity. Thus far I have resisted the temptation of adding to our nativity set, but I fear I will not be able to hold out much longer.

There are over 120 nativity scenes in the exhibit, some made by the association and others contributed to the group. The four below were made by members of the association.


Dalmatians in a Japanese nativity. Different.

The nativity scenes contributed to the group span six continents.


Many displays used natural materials. From Cuba, a nativity made from dried tobacco leaves.

From Ethiopia, a wool nativity set.
Mollusks and Mother-of-Pearl were used in these sets from The Phillipines and Israel.
A type of marble or granite was used in this display from Vietnam.

Wood was a common element; from New Zealand, a set made from Sassafras.

Inlaid wood nativity from the Czech Republic.

A simple painted wood set from Poland.

One of the few nativity sets with a local character, this one from Provence.

Last, the “Story of Christmas” on an iconic Russian egg.