The Most Beautiful Depiction of Christmas: Living Nativity in Postojna Cave, Slovenia

The Most Magical Festive Season Experience

With its musical and theatrical performances, yesterday’s sneak preview of Postojna Cave’s Christmas Fairy Tale outdid itself. Postojna Cave, Slovenia – the world’s largest underground stage – provided the venue for its 33rd Living Nativity Scenes, once again confirming why they are considered one-of-a-kind and are a serious contender for inclusion on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

“In the past, the Living Nativity Scenes in Postojna Cave may have been considered a distinctly Slovenian event, this year, however, I can say that this is no longer the case; in fact, in recent years the ratio of Slovenian vs foreign visitors has been changing dramatically. Bookings from the neighbouring Croatia, Italy, as well as Germany and other European countries start arriving months ahead of the event. Our Christmas Fairy Tale has crossed borders and the ratio will soon be split almost evenly,” says Marjan Batagelj, the Managing Director of Postojna Cave.

Slovenia’s biggest festive season spectacle will be on view from Christmas Day onwards, from 25 to 30 December, daily from 13:30. Tickets include the Living Nativity Scenes with 18 biblical scenes staged along five kilometres of beautiful subterranean halls and footpaths inside Postojna Cave, a ride on the legendary cave train, a tour of Postojna Cave, seeing the olms – also known as “baby dragons”, vocal and instrumental performances, an accompanying programme and a 50% discount on tickets to all the other Postojna Cave Park attractions, including the Predjama Castle, the EXPO Cave Karst exhibition and the Vivarium.

Due to high demand, buying tickets online is strongly recommended.

The tour of Postojna Cave’s Living Nativity Scenes lasts 90 minutes. The whole experience includes the accompanying programme in the square in front of the cave entrance, which makes it interesting and suitable for families with small children.


This year’s Living Nativity Scenes in Postojna Cave boast a truly outstanding international line-up of singers. All the best known Christmas songs will be performed by singers from Italy and the local community, including Raiven, who will represent Slovenia at the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest. “It's truly something special to spend the festive season as part of the Living Nativity Scenes cast, I realised this last year," Raiven said after yesterday’s preview. “This year’s season will be even more exciting, as it is preceding the Eurovision year, which is upon me.” In the magnificent Annunciation scene at the top of the Great Mountain inside Postojna Cave, Raiven plays the role of the Archangel Gabriel and touches the audience’s hearts with the powerful Ave Maria.

Ivan Defabiani, another member of the vocal line-up who has been compared to the likes of the famed tenor José Carreras, comes from the Italian Dolomites. Instead of celebrating Christmas surrounded by snow, he is now spending the festive season in Europe’s largest tourist cave, where he greets the visitors with the song called The Lord’s Prayer.

For the audience, an especially emotional part of the performance is the Nativity of Jesus scene, which features the sweet voices of some talented young singers performing the Silent Night – this is a performance by three outstanding soloists, 11-year-old Marta Gargiulo (Naples, Italy), Anabela Kosanović, and 15-year-old Rebeka Stanovnik (both from Slovenia).

“Postojna Cave is a magnificent cathedral and to be able to sing in it is an immense privilege and challenge.” This is how the outstanding vocalist Urška Kastelic, who is part of the Living Nativity Scenes for the fourth year, has described her experience. In this year’s nativity re-enactment, she is performing the magnificent song You Raise Me Up inside Postojna Cave’s Concert Hall.


The biggest Christmas spectacle, staged inside Postojna Cave, takes the whole year to prepare, the most intense part of the preparations, however, takes part from August onwards. Every single detail matters. In addition to the numerous vocal and instrumental performances (harp, violins, cello, trumpet, percussion), the event features various dance acts, lighting and sound effects, and special effects. The preparations also include making sure the venue in an extremely sensitive and specific environment is prepared for the performers, safety training, transport logistics, costume design, the accompanying programme, the decoration and visitor coordination.

About 100 performers are selected at an audition held in October: four Josephs, five Marys, shepherds, angels, soldiers, Zechariah, Elizabeth, the Three Wise Men, the Romans. The competition is fierce and to be able to perform in Postojna Cave’s Living Nativity Scenes is a great honour.


The Living Nativity Scenes have grown into a spectacle that the Postojna Cave employees can no longer imagine their Christmas without. They bring all of us together, filling us with joy and reaffirming our sense of belonging. We hope that our visitors get to experience the biggest family holiday in the same way. That they get to feel the story of love, hope and miracle that we still believe in. And most of all, we hope we get to spread the message that there can be a better world, it’s up to us to want it and do something to make it happen.