25th February 2024
Basque Country Culture Traditions

Bilbao fills with traditional Nativity scenes

From 30 November, nativity scenes (belenes) can be seen in various venues across the city of Bilbao as part of local Christmas celebrations.

This traditional way of portraying the story of the birth of Jesus is popular across Spain, with both homes and public spaces often housing a belén.

A wide range of scenes often make up those nativities that are displayed in museums, churches, monasteries and council buildings, with carefully created backgrounds and figures, and a notable attention to detail.

Belenes_nativity scenes in Bilbao
‘Birth of Jesus’. Photo courtesy Asociación Belenista de Bizkaia

Eight places in Bilbao have belenes open to the public (some have an entry charge) this year including:
Museo de Pasos (Iturribide, 3) – the Vizcaya Association of Nativity-Scene Makers (Asociación Belenista de Bizkaia) showcases 13 nativity scenes featuring different formats and style. €2.

Mercado de la Ribera (La Ribera, s/n) – Europe’s biggest covered market once more has its own nativity, also created by the Asociación Belenista de Bizkaia. Free. From 6 December.

Museo Diocesano de Arte Sacro-Eleiz Museoa (Pza. Encarnación Atxuri). See 138 small nativities from over 40 countries around the world. 1 December-6 January. Free.

Museo de la Encartada (Barrio de Peñueco, 11). Audiovisual model featuring a traditional Basque neighbourhood (auzo) with historical houses, special effects and over 100 Basque figures created by Pamplona sculptors Artesanías Tula.

When: 30 November – 6 January, 2019

Where: Various venues (see above)

More info: bilbaoturisme.net

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