Silves & the Red-hued castle | Half day

Silves the capital of the ancient Arab kingdom of Algarve
Per person 30

Silves & the Red-hued castle | Half day


- Silves the capital of the ancient Arab kingdom of Algarve

Description

Silves was the capital of the ancient Arab kingdom of Algarve, and its most important city. That era gave it a stately outline, the epitome of which is its red-hued castle, inviting exploration.

Considered the most beautiful military monument from Islamic Portugal, this castle is also the largest in the Algarve. Its towers and walls perch on a Serra de Monchique hill, so it could monitor and defend the territory, and today are excellent viewpoints over these fertile fields covered with orange trees around the River Arade. It was erected by the Arabs, probably on an ancient 4th/5th century Roman fort. Two further walls also surrounded the settlement, of which only a few sections have survived. Inside you can see the ancient Arab citadel and two water tanks, one of which, it is said, is linked to the river.

Tailor-made

The tour will be devised and scheduled according :

Pick you up and Drop off on request.
Our local guide will pick you up at your hotel, airport or other meeting point.

Personalized transport in a luxury Mercedes vehicle or Similar vehicle, in safe & comfortable conditions.

Free Wifi and bottled water.

Min: 4 or more people ( Please confirm )

Max: Groups of 18 people ( On request )

Tour duration approximately : 4 Hrs


Depart From

Algarve

Pick you up at your hotel, airport or other meeting point.


Schedule

  • Morning | 09,00 Hrs

    Read More:

    Silves was conquered from the Moors in 1189 by King Sancho I, but they were only finally expelled in 1242 under King Afonso III. The ancient great Mosque, now transformed into the Cathedral, is thought to date from this time, and is one of the most important churches in the Algarve, begun in the Gothic style and completed in the Baroque period. It is opposite the castle and, like it, was built in the red Silves sandstone.

    The historic centre retains the Middle Ages layout and the charm of the streets of the old medina, an atmosphere that reaches its highest expression during the Mediaeval Fair in mid-August, an historical reconstitution not to be missed. You can see some relics from those times in the Archaeological Museum, which preserves an 11th century cistern of Islamic origin, which is very deep and accessible by a spiral staircase.

    Also worth visiting is the Church of the Misericórdia, with its beautiful lateral portico in Manueline style. Outside the walls is the 12th century Chapel of Nossa Senhora dos Mártires, to which Gothic and Baroque elements were added, and the Cross of Portugal, alongside the road that established the link to the north.

    Crossed by a mediaeval bridge, the River Arade was for centuries, perhaps millennia, the great route for communication with the coast. Ships coming from the Mediterranean and the Atlantic used this river, which was also the route for the Crusaders who helped the Christian Reconquest. Taking a boat trip will enable you to get to know the beauty of its banks, as you make the descent to Portimão and the fortresses that defended the entrance of the river.

    Related items

    The castle that can currently be see is what remains of a defensive system that included Silves in the Almohade period of Muslim rule (12th to 13th centuries), with some maintenance work carried out by early Portuguese kings after the Christian reconquest in 1242. The structure was made up of various sections: the citadel, the upper fortified walls, the cuirass, the outer walls and various ditches and barbicans that underpinned the integral construction of the city.

    The walls take on the shape of an irregular polygon, strengthened by eleven external rectangular towers. Four of the towers underwent changes in the 14th and 15th centuries with arched rooms and broken arched gothic gates added. There were two exits through the walls; the main double gate leading down to what was then the medina (currently the city) and another smaller gate facing north. This provided direct access to the exterior and became known as the Traitor´s Gate.

    The citadel is the most important area still housing two original cisterns; the storage tanks known as the Moura Cistern and the Dogs Cistern which is said to connect to the river. Ongoing archaeological work is seeking to excavate a Muslim residence that is believed to be the "Palace of the Verandas" and home to the master of these lands. There are various references to this in documents from that period.

    The construction is made out of a mixture of argil clay, grit, sand and chalk in addition to the red sandstone typical to the region (Silves sandstone) which provided the reddish tone. The most significant restoration work on the castle was carried out in the major conservation projects carried out across Portugal throughout the 1940s.

    On entering the Castle, there is a statue in honour of king Sancho I who, in 1189, took Silves from its Almohade inhabitants, the final Arab rulers of the city.

     

  • Afternoon | 14.30 Hrs

    Read More:

    Silves was conquered from the Moors in 1189 by King Sancho I, but they were only finally expelled in 1242 under King Afonso III. The ancient great Mosque, now transformed into the Cathedral, is thought to date from this time, and is one of the most important churches in the Algarve, begun in the Gothic style and completed in the Baroque period. It is opposite the castle and, like it, was built in the red Silves sandstone.

    The historic centre retains the Middle Ages layout and the charm of the streets of the old medina, an atmosphere that reaches its highest expression during the Mediaeval Fair in mid-August, an historical reconstitution not to be missed. You can see some relics from those times in the Archaeological Museum, which preserves an 11th century cistern of Islamic origin, which is very deep and accessible by a spiral staircase.

    Also worth visiting is the Church of the Misericórdia, with its beautiful lateral portico in Manueline style. Outside the walls is the 12th century Chapel of Nossa Senhora dos Mártires, to which Gothic and Baroque elements were added, and the Cross of Portugal, alongside the road that established the link to the north.

    Crossed by a mediaeval bridge, the River Arade was for centuries, perhaps millennia, the great route for communication with the coast. Ships coming from the Mediterranean and the Atlantic used this river, which was also the route for the Crusaders who helped the Christian Reconquest. Taking a boat trip will enable you to get to know the beauty of its banks, as you make the descent to Portimão and the fortresses that defended the entrance of the river.

    Related items

    The castle that can currently be see is what remains of a defensive system that included Silves in the Almohade period of Muslim rule (12th to 13th centuries), with some maintenance work carried out by early Portuguese kings after the Christian reconquest in 1242. The structure was made up of various sections: the citadel, the upper fortified walls, the cuirass, the outer walls and various ditches and barbicans that underpinned the integral construction of the city.

    The walls take on the shape of an irregular polygon, strengthened by eleven external rectangular towers. Four of the towers underwent changes in the 14th and 15th centuries with arched rooms and broken arched gothic gates added. There were two exits through the walls; the main double gate leading down to what was then the medina (currently the city) and another smaller gate facing north. This provided direct access to the exterior and became known as the Traitor´s Gate.

    The citadel is the most important area still housing two original cisterns; the storage tanks known as the Moura Cistern and the Dogs Cistern which is said to connect to the river. Ongoing archaeological work is seeking to excavate a Muslim residence that is believed to be the "Palace of the Verandas" and home to the master of these lands. There are various references to this in documents from that period.

    The construction is made out of a mixture of argil clay, grit, sand and chalk in addition to the red sandstone typical to the region (Silves sandstone) which provided the reddish tone. The most significant restoration work on the castle was carried out in the major conservation projects carried out across Portugal throughout the 1940s.

    On entering the Castle, there is a statue in honour of king Sancho I who, in 1189, took Silves from its Almohade inhabitants, the final Arab rulers of the city.


Points