ALGARVE’S REGIONAL MUSEUM
The collections in this museum are dedicated to the traditional Algarve way of life and include pottery, looms and decorated harnesses. The photographs document ancient farming techniques. An opportunity to see the Algarve as it used to be. (289 827 610. Praça da Liberdade; 9 am – 12.30 pm and 2 pm – 5.30 pm; closed at weekends; €1,50).
ARCO DA VILA
At one of the medieval entrances to the walls a monumental portal can be found with a niche containing a marble statue of Saint Thomas Aquinas. The rear section incorporates a horseshoe arch that was once part of the entrance to the old Arab walls.
ARCO DO REPOUSO
This was the main entrance at the time of the Arab occupation (in the 12th /13th centuries) In the 13th. century, because of the Christian Reconquest, the Arabs reinforced this gate with two barbicans to improve the town’s defences and make it harder for the enemy to gain entry.
The Cathedral was commissioned by the Archbishop of Braga, D. João Viegas in 1251, after King Afonso III defeated the Moors. The city was sacked and burned by the Earl of Essex in 1596, seriously damaging the church. The columns and their arches were rebuilt in the “plain style” and several chapels were later remodelled in the 18th and 19th centuries. The interior contains one of the best collections of carved gilt work and religious statues in the Algarve.
An unusual church, due to its ground plan in the form of a Greek cross, which is the only example of its kind in the Algarve. In the interior there are several impressive altarpieces: the one in the main chapel is Mannerist and the ones in the side chapels are Baroque, linked together by a gilt carved triumphal arch.
NOSSA SENHORA DO CARMO CHURCH AND CHAPEL OF THE BONES
Dominating the Largo do Carmo square, this church was founded in 1713. The upper storey was built in 1775, the eastern tower at the beginning of the 19th. century and the other tower in 1878. The interior of the church is lavishly ornamented with carved gilt wood featuring the work of the best sculptors in the region. Other interesting elements include the decorative work in the sacristy, the collection of religious statues from the Procissão do Triunfo and the Chapel of the Bones. The latter was constructed from the bones of more than a thousand monks and was intended to remind them of the transience of life. (admission 1€).
SÃO PEDRO CHURCH
This church was so badly damaged by the earthquake of 1755 that major architectural modifications were necessary. The new columns were built in 1760, as replicas of those in the cathedral. In the interior, there are several examples of 17th. and 18th. century decorative work, particularly in the main chapel and in the Santíssimo Sacramento and Nossa Senhora da Vitória chapels.