By Chris King •
Updated: 26 Nov 2023 • 19:03
Celebrations in Alenquer in the District of Lisbon, Portugal.
Credit: Município de Alenquer on Facebook.
KNOWN as Portugal’s ‘nativity scene village’, the Lisbon District municipality of Alenquer will this year celebrate the 800th anniversary of the world’s first appearance of the nativity scene.
As announced by Cláudia Luís, the Councillor for Culture at Alenquer Town Hall, the celebrations will commence on November 30.
To commemorate the anniversary, the ‘Alenquer, Nativity Scene of Portugal’ programme will present an exhibition called ‘From Italy to the world’.
There will be free entrance to the exhibition which will include 20 to 25 nativity scenes from various countries. These scenes are made from different materials, from the collection of Fernando Canha da Silva, donated by the Church of São Francisco in Évora.
According to Luís, the first traces of a Portuguese nativity scene were found in Alenquer’s Convent of Santa Catarina da Carnota, dating back to 1569.
Alenquer is famous for its giant nativity scene which includes figures up to six metres in height. They have been erected on the town’s hill since 1968, following the awful floods of 1967, which caused damage and almost 50 deaths in the municipality.
This year’s Christmas programme has a budget of €300,000 and closes on 6 January, with up to 75,000 visitors expected to visit.
Located in the Romeira Urban Park, the Christmas Theme Park features circus and theatre shows, Father Christmas Square, a market and exhibition of nativity scenes, a carousel, an ice rink and ramp, a Lego exhibition and a motorised nativity scene, among other attractions for children, Luís explained.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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