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In 2003 a group of talented sculptors from various countries of the world came to the Algarve to build the first great sand sculpture event held in Portugal.

To these experienced sculptors were gathered some Portuguese artists who wanted to try to sculpt in this new material and, together, created a set of sculptures under a free theme, which was called Dreamland.

Pieces inspired by history, art and collective imagery, fantasy machines and gears and some symbols of Portuguese culture, such as the Torre de Belém or the mythical Adamastor, were built.

This new art form aroused the curiosity of the general public and the festival was visited by hundreds of people who appreciated the creativity and mastery of the artists.

Enchanting Stories


In its second edition FIESA took on another dimension. Some 25,000 tons of sand were used and about thirty sculptors were present, many of them holders of international awards, who built legends and children's tales in sand.

Cinderella, Pinocchio, Snow White, some fables of La Fontaine, witches, fairies and giants occupied about 15,000 m2, in a theme that communicated with all generations and made this festival one of the most important events of its kind.

In addition to scenes of traditional tales, episodes of the thousand and one nights, from the trips of Guliver or Don Quixote, were also constructed in sculptures that explore various dimensions and various techniques of carving in sand.

Lost Worlds


This third edition of FIESA was titled Lost Worlds and was dedicated to ancient peoples and civilizations, whose vestiges endure in history and legend.

For a month, half a hundred artists formed thirty thousand tons of sand, sculpting stunning scenes from pre-Columbian cultures of America, the pyramids of Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Millenarian empires such as those of China and Japan, of European antiquity and mysterious works built by peoples of the whole world, such as Easter Island statues and mythical worlds and buildings like Atlantis or the Tower of Babel, were also portrayed in sand.

Hindu temples with sculptures of the Kama Sutra, an imposing Roman circus or an impressive Aztec sacrifice were some of the scenes that aroused the public's emotions.



By using thirty-five thousand tons of sand in an area of 15,000 m2, FIESA has become, since 2006, the largest sand sculpture festival in the world, bringing together some of the best experts in this new form of artistic expression.

The theme Mythologies associated history, thought and the sacred. Mythological figures from various eras and continents, such as elves, valkyries, mermaids, Greek gods, Africans, Americans and even D. Sebastião, the legendary Portuguese king killed in Alcácer-Quibir were represented in sand.

Large sculptures of antiquity, of medieval Europe and alluding to Christianity, were built in which the three-dimensional reproduction of the painting The Last Supper, painted by Leonardo DaVinci, was one of the most appreciated scenes.

World Wonders


The theme Wonders of the World, was the inspiration for this 5th edition of the festival, integrating the past and present with the representation of the wonders of the ancient world, the modern world, science, the arts and Portugal.

The Eiffel Tower, built in sand, reached a height of twelve meters and replicas of the Forbidden City, the Angkor Temples, the Sydney Opera House and the Empire State Building, the Belem Tower and the Monument of the Discoveries were also built. Remarkable works of world architecture, representing the wonders of the modern world.

The seven wonders of the ancient world, such as the lighthouse of Alexandria, the foot of the Colossus of Rhodes the statue of Zeus, the hanging gardens of Babylon, the Colosseum of Rome, the Pyramids of Giza and the Temple of Artemis also had a special place.

The wonders of the natural world were contemplated with sand scenes of the Himalayas, the Great Australian Barrier Reef, the Amazon Rainforest or the Serengeti. In the arts and sciences the sculpture of the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa was highlighted, which aroused quite emotional reactions from the public.



The 6th edition of FIESA was dedicated to Hollywood cinema. Films of love, humor, adventure, science fiction and horror were films that were celebrated in the world of cinema.

The festival featured some sixty scenes, some of them large, from films such as King Kong, Casablanca, Star Trek, Allien, ET, The Wizard of Oz and The Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park or moments from the Indiana Jones saga.

A central part dedicated exclusively to superheroes of all time was a place of communion between parents and children, who marveled to recognize the characters represented.

This edition was characterized by a new layout of the sand, creating a different space for the usual visitor and providing new panoramic views of the exhibition.



This seventh edition was dedicated to the theme Discoveries, and the thirty-five thousand tons of sand used to build the exhibition were transformed into scenes representative of the most significant technical, scientific and cultural moments in the history of mankind.

Sand scenes have been portrayed ranging from the 21st century to the beginnings of Man, dedicating thematic spaces to robotics, industrialization, the discovery of fire and the wheel and advances made in medicine, telecommunications, physics or art .

You can see the arrival of Neil Armstrong to the moon, that of Pedro Álvares Cabral to Brazil, and also inventions like the clock, the camera, the electric bulb, the automobile or the computer.

Live World


Live World was the theme of the 8th edition of the festival, representing in sand the natural world, the fauna and flora of our planet. Scenes of the animal kingdom from the various continents were reproduced in sand and natural landscapes such as the Himalayas, the Amazonian forest or The Great Australian Barrier Reef.

Enormous gorillas, lions, pandas, elephants, donkeys, chickens, kangaroos and penguins were some of the sculpted animals, integrated into pieces representative of their habitats and the relationship that the animals maintain with the humans that surround them.

The scenes were grouped by geographical areas and part of the exhibition was dedicated to the sea, another to the insects and another to extinct animals, mythological and possible extraterrestrial life forms.



The mood was the 9th edition of the festival, which under the theme Animalandia presented sculptures to caricature the world of Men through animals that appeared to portray human behavior and satirize various aspects of our society.

Animals were carved to play music, to dance, to paint, to read, to ride a motorcycle, to eat and drink, in an irony to the world created by humanity. Man-animal relations were reversed in these interpretations, with dogs strolling people and donkeys sitting on men-drawn carts.

This theme inspired the creation of a space dedicated especially to children, where charismatic animals created by comics and animated films appeared in the sand, such as Walt Disney characters, Flintstones, Garfield or cartoons of the series The Train of the Dinosaurs.



In 2012 FIESA transformed thirty-five thousand tons of sand into idolized characters throughout the history of humanity, representing from ancient gods and beliefs to contemporary icons of politics, religion, arts, science or technology.

They were sculpted, for example, figures such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Shumaker, Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, Albert Einstein, Louis Armstrong, Diana of Wales, Martin Luther King, Gandhi or Steve Jobs.

Some of the celebrities represented were integrated into imaginative scenes, with elements that symbolized the locations, objects and events of their lives, notably a remarkable representation of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, a faithful reproduction of Guernica in three dimensions and the visual narrative In large panels of sand of several stages of the life of Che Guevara.

It was an exhibition that communicated intensely with the multicultural audience that visits the Fiesa, provoking emotions among the people who saw their idols represented in sand.



Music was the theme of the 11th edition of the Festival, which featured some seventy sand scenes dedicated to various musical styles, emblematic musicians and musical expression combined with other forms of art such as dance, opera, circus, theater And the cinema.

Bob Marley, Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Frank Zappa, Bono, Ray Charles, Amália, Pavarotti, Compay Secundo or Mozart were some of the musicians reproduced in sand that aroused the emotions of the public, as well as the various scenes dedicated to children's music and references To the traditional music of the various continents.

Great scenarios were also created to play music-related sites such as Broodway, a panel dedicated to jazz, another to New York graffiti by rapper Tupack and musical instruments such as the organ, among other large pieces.

The sculpture dedicated to Pink Floyd, representing sand images of The Wall and guitarist David Gilmour, was voted by the public as the best piece of the festival.

There were unusual pieces alluding to the music, reproducing daily scenes and new musical instruments, guitarists like Jimmy Page and Paco de Lucia and Portuguese bands and musicians like Mariza, Tony Carreras, Paedro Abrunhosa or Xutos e Pontapés.

Tribute to the 7 Arts


The ancient Greeks classified as main arts of Sound, Literature, Space, Volume, Sculpture, Movement and Theater. In 1911 Ricciotto Canudo in the Manifesto of the Seven Arts, he claimed cinema as Seventh Art, for joining elements of all the other six, redefining what are now called the Seven Arts.



The invention of moving images was due to several discoveries, made for centuries in several countries of the world. Le Pince designed a film camera but it was Edison and the Lumiere brothers who perfected it in the nineteenth century.



The word itself comes from Latin and means letter. It is the art of exposing artistic writings, thoughts, stories, poetry, according to theoretical principles. It means an instruction or set of skills to write and read well. This art is very important in transferring knowledge from generation to generation.



The meaning of this word in Greek is "main construction", it is the process of designing and building the environment, it deals with the organization of space and its elements. There are several aspects of architecture, such as industrial, landscape, urban planning. The architecture has a more contemporary side and it can be said that a historical aspect, as example we have the baroque, classic or Gothic style.



Represents the total or partial relief image, there are various techniques of working the materials, such as chiseling, casting, molding or particle agglomeration for the creation of an object. Fiesa is mainly used for molding. The history of sculpture begins in prehistoric times and is transversal to all cultures.



It is the art of applying pigment in order to give it on a surface shades, tones and textures. The painting accompanies the human being throughout its history. Although during the classical Greek period did not develop as much as the sculpture, Painting was one of the main forms of representation of medieval peoples, from the Renaissance until the twentieth century.

Theater / Dance


Music and dance will have been Man's first artistic activities and to this day no people are known who do not practice them. The dance allows the artistic expression of the body and strengthens the feelings expressed by the music.



Music appeared in all cultures parallel to the development of the human being and integrates the most significant artistic, social and religious events of most peoples.