Roman and Moorish History in the Algarve...
Explore the history of the Algarve through the mosaics and temples of the Romans, the castles of the Moorish empire...
Historical Sites in the Algarve
The remains of the luxurious Roman villa located in Milreu contains some of the finest mosaics from the Roman imperial era to be found in the Algarve. The villa, now called the Casa Rural das Ruínas (Country House of the Ruins) appears to have been a bountiful farm in the third century, its wine press indicating some of the property was given over to vineyards.
- Roman Ruins in Milreu
The remains of the luxurious Roman villa located in Milreu contains some of the finest mosaics from the Roman imperial era to be found in the Algarve.
Open Tuesday-Sunday 09.30-12.30, 14.00-17.00
Photo Credits: Wiseguy 71
Over the centuries, as the villa fell into different hands, it was used as a place of worship for a variety of religious traditions. A private temple dedicated to the pagan gods of the Roman era can be found here, although the site was used as a Christian church in the sixth century, and later employed by the Moors as an Islamic cemetery.
- Moorish Castle in Silves
Built in the 11th century, the Moorish castle Castelo dos Mouros in Silves is the best preserved relic of the Moorish era in Portugal.
Open: 9.00-18.00, 15 Jul-15 Sep until 18.30.
Photo Credits: Tffff
The Romans created elaborate and sophisticated water networks using thermal springs to supply their baths, with the baths themselves containing beautiful mosaics of fish and other sea life, designed to create the optical illusion of animation when the baths were filled with water.
Built from red sandstone in the 11th century, the Moorish castle Castelo dos Mouros in Silves is the best preserved relic of the Moorish era in Portugal. In the 10th century Silves, (Shilb) was one of the most important towns of the Al-Andalus.
The river Arade runs through the city into the Mediterranean, making the region valuable for the production and transportation of produce from Portugal to the rest of the Moorish empire. The Moors introduced the orange groves which still fill the valleys, and the oranges from Silves were highly-prized throughout the Moorish kingdoms.
The Moorish castle in Silves provides sweeping views of the region and the river Arade. The castles fortified walls withstood the battles to take the castle during the Christian reconquest, becoming the seat of the provincial governor of Silves after the expulsion of the Moors. Although badly damaged during the two major earthquakes of the 1700's the castle survived, with major restoration work taking place in the 20th century.
More to do in the Algarve
Related Reading for the Algarve
This is the first study in English of the political history of Muslim Spain and Portugal, based on Arab sources. It provides comprehensive coverage of events across the whole of the region from 711 to the fall of Granada in 1492.
By Hugh Kennedy
The Wine & Food Lover's Guide to Portugal is a 446-page hardback book for people who like to eat and drink well, stay in welcoming and interesting places, and want to explore Portugal - and not just the beaches.