Winter Lights

December in Kraków means city squares filled with festive markets and illuminated with Christmas trees, crowds of theatregoers heading to different performances of the Divine Comedy festival and carols resounding from concert halls all over the city.

Preparations for Christmas and the New Year are in full swing, from family gatherings to grand spectacles and balls. It’s the perfect time to reach for traditions, for example by admiring beautiful, intricate Cracovian nativity scenes at the exhibition at the Museum of Krakow and as part of the All Around Nativity Scenes guided walk. The tradition presents our city in a nutshell: the nativity scenes are inspired by local architecture and feature sacral motifs as well as real and legendary individuals linked with Kraków – and, this year, myriad musical themes.

Carnival kicks off in Kraków with the Cortege of the Three Wise Men and blossoms during the many parties and balls in the city, truly coming into its own with Opera Rara Kraków. Festival concerts and performances are a testament to the event’s continuing development, starting as a celebration and rediscovery of somewhat forgotten Baroque music. Today the festival boldly explores more contemporary music and formats while always focusing on the most important element: singing – one of the earliest and purest forms of artistic expression.

Just as 2023 marked numerous anniversaries, 2024 will be no different.

Celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology start this November with the opening of the exhibition Hiroshige 2023. From the Collections of Feliks “Manggha” Jasieński, recalling the vast body of artworks donated to Kraków by the acclaimed collector. It was just for this collection that Andrzej Wajda and Krystyna Zachwatowicz initiated the construction of the museum building with its distinctive roof, inspired by The Great Wave Off Kanagawa and perfectly blending into its surroundings. More recently, Andrzej and Teresa Starmach also donated their extraordinary collection to the city of Kraków; some of the artworks go on show at the newly renovated brutalist building of the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery.

Winter is the perfect time to visit the latest exhibitions at Kraków’s museums

Winter is the perfect time to visit the latest exhibitions at Kraków’s museums to admire new or recently enhanced venues and galleries. Fans of literature and themed meetings head to the Potocki Palace or artistic coffee shops, while cinemagoers enjoy the Krakow Mountain Festival and the Silent Film Festival. Even the early nights have their good side, giving us an opportunity to see the fairytale illuminations at the Stanisław Lem Garden of Experiences.

All these events make winter more bearable, and it comes to a symbolic end in Kraków with the Misteria Paschalia Festival marking the start of Holy Week and Easter. The event is another great excuse to visit the city’s many concert halls, as well as churches where sacral Baroque – and all other music – sounds truly beautiful.

Kraków`Culture Team



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The year 2023 marks several important anniversaries celebrated in Kraków and beyond. When we discuss them as part of the cycle of Cracovian events in “Kraków Culture”, we eschew ostentatious discourse, and instead we look at their works as a major contribution to contemporary civilisation, art and literature and a starting point of future artistic and scientific pursuits.