Profoundly influenced by six centuries of Islamic domination (in common with the whole of the south of the Iberian Peninsula), Silves has countless Islamic remains. The museum also displays Phoenician jewellery from the 7th century and a set of Visigoth marble slabs, together with exhibits from other periods and civilizations. (282 444 832. R das Portas de Loulé, 14. 9 am – 6 pm; closed on Sundays and Mondays).
The Cathedral was built in 1189 by the Spanish King Alfonso X, nicknamed “The Learned” because of his writings, which included Galician-Portuguese poetry. Rebuilt in 1242 after the Christian conquest, it was a bishop’s seat until the late 16th century. The main chapel is Gothic, but the church has been substantially restored. The façade is flanked by two bell towers, one of them with a Gothic slit and the other one housing the clock.
CRUZ DE PORTUGAL
A monumental limestone 14th. century crucifix depicting Christ crucified on the front and Christ being taken down from cross on the back. It is one of the best examples of this genre of sculpture, which is very common in Portugal.
A combined zoo and amusement park. Lots of animals and fun activities to entertain small children. (282 574 134. Estrada de Messines; 10 am – 6 pm; closed on Thursdays and Fridays Oct. to Feb.)
Part of the road network of the Roman Empire, this bridge with five semicircular arches spans the small river Arade. It was rebuilt in the 16th. century. The local inhabitants call it the “old bridge”.
The castle dates back to Moorish times and was built on Phoenician or Roman remains. The thick sandstone walls have a reddish hue and a few half-ruined towers are still standing. It is the largest castle in the Algarve.