Category: Portugal

History of Tavira – Portugal

TaviraTavira is one of the most elegant and beautiful towns in the Algarve with it s origin dating back to the late Bronze Age 1,000 800 BC. If you are interested in history you will enjoy a walking tour of the town as there is lots to explore.

In the 7th century BC the inhabitants of this area were the fabled Tartessus possibly of Celtic origin.

In the 8th century BC it became one of the first Phoenician settlements in the Iberian West.The Phoenicians created a colonial urban centre here with massive walls at least 2 temples and 2 harbours.At the end of the 6th Century BC it was destroyed by conflict.

During the time of Caesar the Romans created a new port some 7km from the town of Tavira named Balsa. As Balsa grew in size Tavira became a secondary passing place on the road between Balsa and Baesuris(present day Castro Marim)

Moorish occupation of Tavira between the 8th and 13th centuries left it s mark on the agriculture, architecture and culture of the area. That influence can still be seen in Tavira today with it s whitewashed buildings, Moorish style doors and rooftops. The Moors built a castle, 2 mosques and a palace. After a recent archaeological study it appears that the impressive 7 arched Roman bridge originates from a 12th Century Moorish bridge.During this time Tavira established itself as an important port for fishermen and sailors.

Tavira Santiago ChurchIn 1242 Dom Peres Correia took Tavira back from the Moors in a bloody conflict during which the population of the town was decimated. Christians were now in control of the town and though most Muslims left the town some remained in a Moorish quarter known as Mouraria.

By the 17th Century the port was of considerable importance, shipping produce such as salt,dried fish and wine. The earthquake of 1755 which reached a magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale caused extensive damage in Tavira and throughout the Algarve with it s shockwaves and tsunamis. The earthquake is referred to as the Lisbon Earthquake due to the terrible effect it had on the city, although the epicentre was some 200kms west southwest of Cape St.Vincent in the Algarve.

Tavira Today

The town has since been rebuilt with many fine 18th century buildings along with 37 churches. It is a fascinating place to explore with it s winding narrow cobbled streets and pastel coloured houses with distinctive tiled roofs lining the river Gilao.The Castle walls border the medieval centre of the town encompassing a tranquil garden.If you are lucky enough to be there in spring you can see the jacaranda trees in bloom.Climb to the top of the walls and Tavira is spread out below you, a rich tapestry of tiled rooftops stretching away to the mosiac of saltpans before reaching the blue Atlantic ocean.

Tavira HarbourYou can take your pick of historic churches to visit some are open to the public every day while others are by arrangement. Beside the Castle is the church of Santa Maria Do Castelo where you can view the tombs of Dom Paio Peres Correla and his 7 knights who were murdered by the Moors.You can climb up to the bell tower and there is a fine view of the town and river.

Tavira s economic reliance on the fishing industry has declined due to the change in the pattern of migration of the tuna fish. Tourism is developing with the creation of new golf courses attracting more visitors but it has escaped the high rise development of other parts of the Algarve and has retained it s traditional Portugese charm.

Share This Article With Your Friends

Things To See And Do In Faro, Portugal

Faro GuideIf you’re planning a trip to Portugal’s fabulous Faro but are lacking in inspiration, worry not! We have the perfect suggestions to satisfy everyone from the most die-hard sun seeker to the art-loving culture vulture.

As the capital of Portugal’s ever popular Algarve region, Faro is overflowing with things to see and do. With temperatures reaching the high teens through the winter and average temperatures regularly exceeding a scorching 30 degrees from June to September, Faro’s Mediterranean climate is ideal for anyone wanting to escape the British winter chill or to take advantage of continental Europe’s great summer weather.

Praia de Faro is Faro’s most easily accessible beach, and is a short bus ride from the centre of Faro. Other beaches are situated on the sand spits (‘ilhas’) in the area, and can be reached by ferry, which leave regularly from the pier in Porta Nova. These beaches feature idyllic stretches of white sand, and are great for a peaceful few hours of relaxation. The Ilha de Barreta is a particularly beautiful beach which doesn’t get too busy.

For anyone wanting to explore Portugal’s great outdoors, Faro is conveniently situated beside the Ria Formosa lagoon. It is a Portuguese Natural Park, and is visited by around 30,000 birds each year, so is a prime spot for birdwatchers. There are also bars and restaurants in the area if you want to get out of the city centre.

The old town is brimming with winding streets and outdoor cafes for a pitstop from the sun, where all sorts of traditional Portuguese dishes can be picked up. Food in Faro is reasonably priced, and it isn’t unusual for Faro’s residents to enjoy a full sit-down meal for lunch. People in Faro tend to be very laid-back, and there is a strong focus on fun and socializing. Cities in the Algarve are also known for serving up a variety of top quality Portuguese wines , so wine buffs can take advantage of the relatively cheap prices to try a tipple or two.

As for those looking for a spot of Portuguese culture or to learn a little more about the history of the area, there are some fascinating museums documenting the Algarve’s archaeological findings, cultural heritage and maritime history. These are a winner for curious kids and history-loving adults alike, and are a brilliant way to while away a few hours.

If you want to see some of the lesser-known parts of Faro, you might want to head to the forest close to the Praia de Faro. Here you can spot birds, butterflies and lizards, and is a secluded, serene place to go for a walk. If you hire a car in Faro you can explore the attractive whitewashed hillside town of Alte, which is around a 45 minute drive from Faro Airport. It’s surrounded by trees and feels authentically Portuguese, and is just 20 minutes from the beaches of Albufeira.

Faro Cathedral, in its Renaissance and Baroque style, is located in the heart of Faro’s medieval quarter, and is a must-see. The sprawling vistas of the Algarve can be observed by climbing the cathedral’s tower. Another rather more macabre experience is a trip to the Capela dos Ossos, decorated with the skulls and bones of more than 1,000 monks.

There are so many options in Faro that your only problem might be fitting it all in!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Share This Article With Your Friends

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On PinterestCheck Our Feed