Maltese Christmas heritage! Valletta exhibition celebrates the art of traditional crib making
The exhibition opens this Sunday.

Emma Galea

This festive season, take a trip back in time and let yourself be transported amidst the winding streets of the millenia-old nativity story, when visiting the exhibition ‘The Crib’s Journey with St Francis’. The exhibition is taking place at the Grand Master’s Palace in Valletta.

Through a collaboration between Heritage Malta and Għaqda Ħbieb tal-Presepji, under the auspices of HE the President of Malta, an astounding collection of more than sixty traditional cribs and nativity figurines will be adorning one of the halls of the Grand Master’s Palace.

The exhibits are creations of both Maltese and foreign artists and groups, and are made of a variety of materials, including real rocks, paper mache, glass and jablo amongst others.

‘The Crib’s Journey with St Francis’ forms parts of a string of initiatives around the globe, locally spearheaded by Għaqda Ħbieb tal-Presepji, celebrating this year’s 800th anniversary since the first crib was created by St Francis in Greccio, Italy. This episode is regarded as the dawn of this cherished Catholic tradition which throughout the years spread around the globe and became a staple Christmas decoration in households, artistically recounting this solemn night.  

Two other displays will be taking place in parallel at the Parliament building in Valletta and the Agostinian Convent in Rabat, Gozo, whilst a number of workshops aimed at various audiences sharing expert knowledge and guidance on the methodology and history of crib-making will be offered throughout. For more information you are invited to follow the Għaqda Ħbieb tal-Presepji social media channels.

To ensure that your visit to the exhibition is truly memorable, Heritage Malta’s Publishing Department has commissioned an exclusive commemorative and limited edition 15-figure nativity numbered set, created by crib master Pawlu Muscat in the traditional ‘tas-sold’ style. It consists of all the typical characters. Both this unique set and also an informative, illustrated catalogue will be available for sale on site and online through here

This exhibition will run from Sunday 19th November to Sunday 21st January 2024, opening every day. Opening hours for November are 10am to 6pm.

Admission is on a donation basis, which will be directed to the Malta Community Chest Fund. Entrance is through Merchants Street.


14th November 2023

Emma Galea
Written by
Emma Galea
Emma is a Gozitan writer who loves all things related to English literature and history. When not busy studying or writing you will either find her immersed in a fictional book or at the cinema trying to watch as many films as she possibly can!