I am the proud owner of a Kraków szopka! What is that, you may ask? Well, szopka in Polish means creche, as in the Christmas nativity scene common at this time of year. Basically they are very intricate manger scenes made with foil and can be extremely elaborate. You can read more about them here.
When I was in Kraków at the Sukiennice, one of the shops there had a number of szopka. I wanted to buy them all, but finally decided to buy a small one which was in a box that and of a size (small) that I thought would hold up to travel in my luggage back to the US, and it did. In retrospect, and for next time I am in Poland, I will buy a bunch including the bigger ones and just have them shipped back. They are very light, being made of cardboard and foil. But that’s for next time. (Yes, you can buy them online, imported from Poland, but at at least 3 times the price you can buy them there for.)
Anyhow, I have my very own szopka, purchased in Kraków, and it’s something I really treasure. It may be small, but it’s a great memory. I have it proudly displayed in a prominent place this Christmas season. I hope you’ll take a moment to read more about szopka and maybe check out some of these images from the Internet as well. They are marvelous creations, each very unique and hand made.