While not on most tourists' itineraries, the little Nativity Museum (Museo de Belenes), is one of Alicante's most interesting and original cultural stops, and an important element for anyone wishing to learn Spanish in Spain. You'll find the museum tucked into the winding streets of El Barrio, Alicante's historic quarter, in a typical 19th-century house.
Like the rest of Spain, Alicante has a long and special tie to these hand-crafted nativity scenes depicting the birth and life of Christ, generally in miniature. They are a characteristic element of Spain's Christmastime celebrations, when nativity scenes of varying degrees of size and detail are set up in public spaces as well as in nearly every home across the country. They're as common in Spain as Christmas trees are in the United States.
The nativity museum's collection includes hundreds of these specialty crafts, some fairly simple and others extremely elaborate, hailing from Alicante, other parts of Spain and around the world. Many of the sets on display have been crafted by the expert artists of the Nativity Association of Alicante, while others have made their way into the museum's display from as far as India and Africa.