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Donated by Loja church, largest nativity scene in Latin America is on display at Cuenca’s cathedral

Some of the elaborate scenery of the nativity scene at the cathedral.

It covers 280 square meters (3014 square feet) and has 1,400 pieces, 600 of them in motion. According to its owner, the Catholic Archdiocese of Loja, it is the largest Christ-child nativity scene in Latin America and possibly in the world.

The blessing of the Christ-child in nativity scene in the cathedral.

The sprawling Christmas installation opened to the public in Cuenca’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception last week, occupying the church’s south nave. The work is on loan to Cuenca through the Christmas season.

Beyond the elements of traditional nativity scenes, this one includes images and events leading to and following Christ’s birth, including the marriage of Joseph and Mary, Joseph’s dream, the annunciation of the Angel Gabriel, the young Christ at the Temple, Herod’s palace and scenes of Jewish and Roman life of the time.

According the priest who coordinated construction of the project, Jimmy Arias, the first pieces, many of them antique, were imported from Europe. Most of the pieces, however, were created by Ecuadorian craftspeople, using local materials, including recycled trash. Electricians worked with artists to animate 600 of the most prominent characters.

The installation will remain in the cathedral until early January.