Cork, cane, moss and stones from the river shape the Cortelha nativity scene

The tradition of assembling and building the cork crib in Cortelha began in 2004

Cork, cane, moss and river stones, as well as the work of the local population for its construction, are the ingredients fundamentals of the Presépio da Cortelha, a mountain village in the municipality of Loulé, which will be open to the public in the association's square, until 6 January.

Those who visit Serra do Caldeirão during these days will be dazzled by a real work of art, the Crib in Cortiça da Cortelha. After many weeks of gathering moss, looking for the best cork straws, carrying stones from the river to build the scene of Jesus' birth, the people of Cortelha are now proud to be able to show off their nativity scene.

For the nativity scene, but also for the beautiful landscapes that Serra do Caldeirão offers at this time of year or for the tasty cuisine that local restaurants cook, every year many visitors come to Cortelha to enjoy this attraction.

The crib in this village in the parish of Salir aims to reflect the global context of the meaning of Christmas, from the path through the Reis Magos, to the hut where the birth of Jesus is traditionally attributed, passing through its framing in the rural environment.

It will thus be possible to appreciate various life-size figures, namely the Magi on their camels, as well as a donkey and a cow.

«For the construction of the Presépio da Cortelha, the population used materials from the Serra do Caldeirão, being cork the fundamental element, with the consequent sentimental charge inherent to it», explains the Association of Friends of Cortelha.

«As this is the main source of income for the inhabitants of the village, cork plays in this crib something much more important than a simple raw material: it transports the soul of the people of Cortelha», he adds.

The tradition of assembling and building the cork crib at Cortelha began in 2004, when the village applied to the Algarve Village Crib Contest, an initiative of the CCDR Algarve, and won first place.

From then on, every year around Christmas, the inhabitants get together and start preparing the materials and trying to fit them into the ideal setting for the assembly of the nativity scene, which can be visited until the 6th of January.