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The best independent guide to Silves

Algarve-Tourist.com

The best independent guide to Silves

Silves Day Trip - Page 2

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Religious Buildings of Silves - 1 Day Tour

Silves cathedral is the best preserved gothic cathedral in southern Portugal but for the average visitor there are more impressive religious buildings in the Algarve. The cathedral was initially constructed in the 12th century on the site of a ruined Moorish mosque but took until the 15th century to be completed. Up until the 16th century Silves was the religious seat of the Algarve but after the demise of Silves few alterations were made to the cathedral and this has ensured that it remained almost unchanged since its construction.

Se Cathedral Silves

The Se Cathedral in Silves

The exterior is a beautiful blend of Silves sandstone and brilliant white plastered walls while the interior follows the classical Latin cross plan. The most historically significant feature of the interior is the tomb stone dedicated to King John II who died in strange circumstances in 1495 close to Silves. The entrance fee to the cathedral is €1.00.

The second church of Silves is the Nossa Senhora dos Mártires, this church was dedicated to the crusaders who fought against the North African Moors over the protected wars that converted the city into a Christian centre. The church was constructed over three stages in the 12th, 16th and 18th centuries, the later stage was after the devastating 1755 earthquake.

Lunch Time!

After exploring the town of Silves it is suggested to have lunch before climbing to the castle. Popular choices are the Casa Velha (traditional Portuguese food) with its delightful pink tiled exterior or the Cafe Ingles (continental cuisine) with its charming courtyard and interior. The pedestrian street of the Rua Cruz de Portugal close to the river front, has many pleasant open air cafes for lighter lunches and are great for a coffee.

Se Cathedral Silves

The pink tiled Casa Velha in Silves

Silves Castle

Silves castle dominates the city and it makes for a great tourist attraction with a colourful history, battlements to explore and wonderful views over the town. The castle is a complex of imposing defensives towers connected by solid walls and wide ramparts. The castle is open every day from 9:00 until 18:00 and the admission fee is €2.50. By the entrance to the castle is a statue of Sancho I, who lead the crusader army and conquered Silves in 1189.

Silves castle

Inside Silves castle and the exposed Roman foundations

The site of the castle was originally a Roman fortification and certain sections have been excavated to review the original Roman foundations. The castle walls and towers date from the 12th century but the amazing state of preservation is due to the extensive restoration program of the 1940s. This project rebuilt most of the battlements that were destroyed by the 1755 earthquake and allow visitors to walk the perimeter of the castle.

Dom Sancho I Silves Castle

The statue of Dom Sancho I guarding Silves castle

The final sight of Silves is the Cross of Portugal (Cruz do Portugal) which is situated on the north eastern side of the town. This 6m high gothic cross was constructed during the 15th century and is a wonderfully preserved example of fine marble carving from the period. The Cruz do Portugal is an interesting monument but should only be visited by tourists with plenty of energy after a whole days exploring.

Cruz do Portugal silves

The 15th century Cruz do Portugal

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