Alenquer – the ‘Nativity Scene Village’
The village in Portugal is known for its annual event dubbed “Alenquer, Nativity Scene of Portugal.” In fact, this year the village celebrates the 800th anniversary of the world’s first appearance of the nativity scene.
Cláudia Luís, Councillor for Culture at Alenquer Town Hall recently announced that the celebrations will kick off on November 30. There is no charge to enter the Christmas exhibition which is set to reveal around 20 to 25 nativity scenes from around the world. This year, to commemorate the anniversary, the program will present an exhibition dubbed “From Italy to the World.’The scenes are crafted from different materials, collected by Fernando Canha da Silva and donated by the Church of São Francisco in Évora.
Luis explained that the first traces of a Portuguese nativity scene were found in the Convent of Santa Catarina da Carnota in the town, dating back to 1569. However, the annual event isn’t just about viewing the many beautiful nativity scenes as there is so much more to see and do here.
Why is the village famous for this event?The village’s giant nativity scene is famous for its life-size figures that were first erected on a hill in the town in 1968. At the time, Alenquer had suffered the devastating floods of 1967, which caused extensive damage and led to 50 deaths in the town.
Meanwhile, the event is held in Romeira Urban Park on the hill in Alenquer and among the sprawling displays are the abovementioned nativity scenes. However, the Christmas event also features theater and circus shows, a festive market to buy gifts and Christmas decorations, miniature villages, a carousel, a fun slide and an ice rink. Moreover, a Lego exhibition and a motorized nativity scene are among the other attractions for the children.
On the event’s official website, the event also features cultural animation, multi-media, arts and crafts, music, photography and, of course, delicious food. Readers can get an idea of the scope of this magical Nativity Scene event from the video included below. The footage was taken during the Alenquer, Nativity Scene in Portugal in 2019.
On the website, officials in Alenquer describe the event as follows:
Visit Alenquer at this time of year and let yourself be enchanted by our Monumental Nativity scene, the vast set of nativity scenes we have for you and our already famous Christmas theme park full of attractions for kids and adults!
Reportedly, this year’s event has a budget of €300,000 ($328,432.50) and expects 75,000 visitors each year. For those planning to visit Alenquer this year, directions from Lisbon can be found on Google Maps here.