Vila Real de Santo António crib once again sets a record with 5600 figures and 40 tons

In a year of pandemic, structure returns with all safety conditions

The biggest nativity scene in the country returns to Vila Real de Santo António, from 28 November (Saturday), and, of course, it once again breaks another record, surpassing the threshold of 5600 figures.

To give life to this initiative, which reaches the age of majority in 2020, when it completed its 18th edition, it took more than 40 days and 2500 hours of work, although preparations had already started several months ago, despite the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As usual, the list of materials used in its construction is extensive and includes more than 20 tons of sand, 4 tons of stone dust, 3000 kg of cork and hundreds of accessories.

All these efforts allowed the Gigante Nativity Scene to reach, once again, the goal of 230 square meters, occupying the entire exhibition area of ​​the António Aleixo Cultural Center, with thousands of figures, many made from scratch by their authors and others that can reach the several hundred euros.

In 2020, the structure presents itself with a new configuration, but once again has evocative pieces of the region, namely the Praça Marquês de Pombal, the old huts on the beach of Monte Gordo, the salt pans, the traditional Algarvian waterwheels, as well as other local monuments.

The more than 80 animated and motorized pieces, the four lakes and the scenic lighting constitute “the secret” of the event and are, at the same time, some of the most attractive points. All of this is based on a complex support base where the several kilometers of cables are installed that allow this work of art to come to life and guarantee, for example, the circulation of water, the lighting of houses and the scenic effects.

These elements are added to the reconstitution of many Christian and pagan episodes associated with the Christmas season – evident in the nativity scene – factors that distinguish it from all others in the country and are one of the reasons for its success.

Eco brand

The ecological aspect was not forgotten either, as most of the materials are natural or have been reused, especially cork and moss. On the other hand, led lighting systems were implemented in many of the pieces.

A reference in the country

For Conceição Cabrita, Mayor of Vila Real de Santo António, «The Gigante Presépio is already part of the Christmas traditions of the Algarve and is, without a doubt, one of the anchor events of the municipality, bringing together visitors of all ages and all points in the country'.

"Even in a year of pandemic, we did not want to give up giving life to this tradition and we put together all our efforts not only to put the structure upright, but also to ensure all the safety and hygiene conditions for those visiting the crib."

Enhanced security

In order to guarantee all safety conditions, this year the crib will have different entry and exit points, and a maximum capacity has also been established to ensure a minimum distance of 2 meters between visitors. The use of a mask will be mandatory, as well as hand disinfection upon entry.



About the Giant VRSA Nativity Scene

The Gigante VRSA Crib is signed by Augusto Rosa and Teresa Marques, two municipal officials who had the collaboration of Joaquim Soares and António Bartolomeu.

It can be visited at Centro Cultural António Aleixo, between November 28, 2020 and January 6, 2021. It is open daily from 10:00 am to 13:00 pm and from 14:30 pm to 19:00 pm (see exceptions). Admission is 0,50 euros.


Giant VRSA Nativity Scene

Location: António Aleixo Cultural Center | VRSA

28 NOV 2020 > 6 JAN 2021 (daily)
Opening hours: 10:00 am – 13:00 pm | 14:30 pm – 19:00 pm
DEC 24 and 31: closes at 18:00 pm
25 DEC: 10:00 – 13:00 | 14:30 pm – 19:00 pm
1 JAN: from 14:30 pm to 19:00 pm

Admission: € 0,50