On a hill on the banks of the River Arade, Silves played a key role in the history of the Algarve. Today Silves is a small town of just over 10,000 people. It has pride in a glorious past. Its period of maximum splendor was during the Muslim domination, when it came to have a population of over 30,000 and won deserved fame as a leading cultural center. After the reconquest of the city, it became the seat of the Bishop of the Diocese Algarvia, but would never have the social, economic and cultural importance it had in the Islamic period. In any case, a visit to Silves is essential to understand the history of Southern Portugal. The former [poi = 353731] Castle [/ poi], is a reflection of Islamic urbanism and architecture Portuguese. Do not miss the Islamic gardens or [poi = 351741] Silves Cathedral [/ poi].
The old castle from Arab origins, which is currently the only well preserved but the walls and towers, is located on top of what was the ancient capital of the Algarve, and near the [poi = 351741] Silves Cathedral [/ poi] This great fortification walls consists of reddish stone, the floor is oddly shaped, it's an irregular polygon, from which four towers extend: The Center, the Women's, the Tower of Homage and the Secret. Inside the castle you can pay to enter and see the remains of the Moorish occupation, such as an Arab tank. It has been declared a National Monument. The castle's hours ar: 09:00 / 19:00 h.
The Sé or Cathedral of Silves is a few kilometers from Portimao and close to Silves Castle. The Cathedral dates back to the to the 18th century and is mainly Gothic, but with the passage of time acquired Baroque and Manueline elements. The cathedral has a plant in the form of a Latin cross, with transept vaulted at the intersection of the arms of it, topped by an apse with a red sandstone at the end on the altar. The main hall is around 18 meters high, and has 2 side aisles with gilded altars decorated with baroque carvings, these ships are separated from the nave by solid octagonal pillars. Inside there are many tombs on the floor of the bishops and the noble families of Silves and the grave stone of King John II died and buried here in the year 1495, and it was later transferred to the Monastery of Batalha. If you want to visit the Cathedral you must pay , something that really caught my attention ...
This large square with an impossible name to say, comes from Arabic hence its name, because the town where Silves is located was for at least five centuries ruled by Arabs, hence the name of the area - Al-garve. This place is very close to the bridge under which the river flows and which serves as a gateway to the city and where as it is stated on one of the large plaques in Arabic and Portuguese that it was once ruled by Al Mouhatamid who reigned in Seville as well and died in Marrakech. In this beautiful place we find beautiful gardens filled with fountains, palm trees and pomegranates, and which also houses the original structure that the Tourist Information offices are in. From these gardens in the lower and central parts of the city you can see there from the top of the hill great views of the castle "Al Hamra" also of Arabic origins.
The Cross of Portugal, lies on the outside of Silves in the EN-124, on the outskirts of the historic heart of town, so for most of the tourists it goes unnoticed and it is too bad , because the cruise is one of the most lovely in Portugal, so I do not understand how more people don´t see it. The cruise dates from the late 15th century, early 15th century, one side is represented crucified and on the other to the Dolorosa. The monument is surrounded by a fence and covered by a pavilion in the middle of a garden.
The Church of Mercy from the sixteenth century is located opposite the cathedral. On the façade, there´s a worker standing on the side of the Manueline doorway. The interior has a single nave which highlights the ribbed vault chapel with a Renaissance style altarpiece.