The Algarve is a region that has had its fair share of history, from the rise of the Arabic caliphate hundreds of years ago to the end of the Kingdom of Portugal in the early 20th century. Because of this, there are many opportunities to explore Algarve’s rich and exciting history.
Roman Ruins in Milreu
Milreu is a small village just north of the village of Estoi, which is located north of Faro, one of the main cities situated in the Algarve. This village isn’t a very populous village but there is one aspect that is incredibly popular and important to its local history – the Roman Ruins. These are known locally as Casa Rural das Ruinas.
The ruins are actually the remnants of a Roman villa, but it was so large that it was originally thought to have been a Roman settlement. The ruins consist of multiple pillars, traditional Roman bathing chambers covered in fish mosaics, and courtyards. It is believed that the villa was settled in the 1st century, nearly 2000 years ago! Going to see this would be an amazing and interesting experience for everyone.
Arabic Castle in Silves
Silves is the former capital of the Algarve but that doesn’t mean that it is a city that should be ignored. Silves has a significant historical background – it is a city that was possibly founded during the Roman era. However, in the 8th century, the Arab caliphate known as the Umayyad caliphate conquered the majority of the Iberian Peninsula and, with that, Silves became one of the most important and influential cities in the entire region.
Because of its importance, fortifications and strong defences were required to keep the town safe. In order to do this, the Moors (Muslims that inhabited North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula) built a sandstone castle that is now known as Castelo dos Mouros and it is one of the most well-preserved Moorish sites in the whole of Portugal.
The City of Tavira
This beautiful city is situated just under 30 kilometres to the east of Faro and less than 20 kilometres west of the Spanish border. This city has actually been inhabited during the late Bronze Age, roughly 3000 years ago. However, it wasn’t until the 8th century BC when Tavira began to blossom under the Phoenician rule.
After this and the Roman civilisations, the city became under the Moorish rule, in which you can still see its influences today from the styles of roofing to the whitewashed houses that cover the hillsides. Explore the old features of the city such as the water tower and, if you are interested in Moorish culture, then the old town square is a great place to be.