Aldeia da Terra (Clay Village), in Évora, has this name because it is made of clay and because it is the artistic representation of any village in this peculiar land which is the Alentejo.
So, to visit Évora (and the Alentejo) is also to visit Aldeia da Terra. It became a must visit site for those who go through the streets in the historic city centre, especially, after the moment when the artwork was classified as a Project of Cultural Interest by the Portuguese Ministry of Culture, back in 2009.
History of Aldeia da Terra and its creator
The artist behind the creation of “The most peculiar village of Portugal” is called Tiago Cabeça. His passion for the distinct art forms led him to study Visual Arts in Evora University and, later on, to discover the secrets of clay with the masters who work it in S. Pedro do Corval (Reguengos de Monsaraz), the largest pottery centre in Portugal.
Since then, he has become an investigator of barrística (modeling or sculpture of figurative in clay), an art with such deep-rooted traditions in Portugal. If you have done your research about the country’s handicrafts, we are sure you are now familiar with the Portuguese pottery in Barcelos, Caldas da Rainha or Estremoz. In fact, this last one has recently been classified as a world intangible cultural heritage of mankind by UNESCO!
Fascinated by pottery in Portugal, Tiago Cabeça began his Oficina da Terra (Clay/Land Workshop) in 1999.
His original and provocative pieces pay a tribute to tradition but are also his own contemporaneous interpretation. With a lot of tenderness and a lot of humour added to the mix. The awards granted to this Portuguese potter arrived naturally over the years, as well as the exhibitions and participations in projects from several municipalities in the Alentejo, such as Reguengos de Monsaraz, Redondo or Évora.
Also in a natural way, Aldeia da Terra was born. Initially located in Arraiolos, it gradually came to combine the multiple clay creations on a sort of open air garden with details of places, situations and characters growing exponentially with time. Nowadays, this village which gives dynamic continuity to the Portuguese figurative art is well rooted in the historic context of UNESCO World Heritage Evora and is one of the must-visit places in the city.
Why visit Aldeia da Terra in Evora
This 3D art gallery is an interesting way to get to know a little bit of the Portuguese heritage. If you are visiting Evora, get inside to see this unique exhibition you cannot find anywhere else in the world. Take your time enjoying the many terracotta pieces in Aldeia da Terra.
Among traditional Portuguese houses, buildings, castles and many other sets, feel the hustle of the animals and people living inside and performing daily familiar tasks as well as their trades. You can also find scenes of the working of the fields in Alentejo, the epic Portuguese discoveries, some unforgettable festivities. And that’s all we are saying. Just to keep you even more curious, one of the most used adjectives on the comments visitors leave in the book of the “Aldeia” itself or online.
With a deeper look, you will find out genuine details you weren’t expecting. If you take the children, transform this search into a game, ideal for cold rainy winter days but for hot Alentejo Summer afternoons too.
The artists are always working live on new pieces to add to the village or in caricatures and other orders. You can (and should) interact with them, asking questions about what you saw or the way they mould, bake and paint clay.
The pieces of art in the small shop let you take home one of the best and most original souvenirs of Evora in the form of caricatures: Carpideiras (Mourners), Pedro e a Andorinha (Peter and the Swallow), Os Noivos (The Bride and Groom), Burro carregado de livros (Donkey loaded with books), S. António (St. Anthony), Cristos (Christs), Presépios (Christmas cribs), Alentejanos, Arca de Noé (Noah’s Ark), D.ª Maria Vinagre,…
Activities in Aldeia da Terra
Apart from entering Aldeia da Terra when you visit Evora to check out all the details mentioned above, you can also do your own piece! These experiences are available for families and school visits who want to sense the clay and mould it according to their imagination. Consider this figurative ceramics workshop as your modelling baptism.
The activity includes around 9oz (250g) of clay (and the use of the appropriate tools) to make a piece after initial guidance from the artists on location. In the end (up to 45m later), you can take home your work of art to remember the moment with pride.
This is a sponsored page. However, Visitevora is an experience website and we proud ourselves of only sharing what we advise to our closest friends. Share it yourself!