Nativity Scene in Vila Real de Santo António Nativity Scene in Natal

Nativity scene in Vila Real de Santo António, the largest in Portugal

The Vila Real de Santo António Nativity Scene has been setting successive records as the largest Nativity scene in Portugal. It is also an environmentally friendly Christmas crib.

With 18 years of exhibitions, in the year 2020, the huge nativity scene presents pieces representing the Algarve region and, in particular, the city of Vila Real de Santo António.

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The Symbolism of the Nativity Scene

One of the most interesting representations that give note of the birthplace of the city is that of Praça Marquês de Pombal and its Pombaline construction.

In fact, it was Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, Marquês de Pombal, responsible for the creation of the city of Vila Real de Santo António, to strengthen the image and power of Portugal, on the border with Spain, on the other side of the Guadiana River .

The construction of the city was very fast. It started in 1774 and at the end of that year the Customs and Town Hall houses were already built, with the same type of construction as Baixa de Lisboa after the 1755 earthquake.

The traditional salt pans, which are still an important source of wealth in the region, and the beaches of Monte Gordo with the old huts and traditional Algarvian houses of the Algarve, could not be missed in the Presépio of Vila Real de Santo António.

We can see, bypassing the large crib, more than normally exposed this Christmas season, scenes from the ancient history of the Algarve and Portugal. There are several episodes and scenarios of Roman, Islamic and Egyptian Civilizations.

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There are more than 5000 pieces, including more than 80 moving pieces that are a very special attraction.

It also has lakes, fountains, typical sounds and adequate lighting for the scenario.

Environmentally friendly Christmas crib

In the construction of this crib, natural or reused materials were used, such as 20 tons of sand, moss, cork and many decorative pebbles.

The numerous pieces use LED lighting systems, for lower energy consumption.

Volunteer work

The Nativity scene is the result of the work of some volunteers, with the support of the Autarchy, during almost the whole year, until the opening of the exhibition.

When the exhibition of each Christmas season ends, the whole magical scenario is dismantled and the planning and design work for the next exhibition resumes, with all creativity, to bring it about.

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Area of ​​occurrence

The Giant Crib occupies the entire exhibition area of ​​the Centro Cultural António Aleixo, in the center of Vila Real de Santo António.

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