The Portuguese were one of the first people in the world to actively globalize tastes and export plants from one area of the world to others. The largest producer in the world, Brazil, saw the plants being introduced by the Portuguese.
To Europe, South America and Africa they brought the sweet oranges. Until than unknown in the Western World. For this reason in many countries the word Portugal or variations corrupted by time mean orange. Some examples are Albanian portokall, Bulgarian портокал (portokal), Greek πορτοκάλι (portokali), Persian پرتقال (porteghal) and Romanian portocală, Arabic البرتقال (bourtouqal), Georgian ფორთოხალი (p'ort'oxali) and Turkish portakal. In Italy, words derived from Portugal (Portogallo) to refer to the sweet orange are in common use in most dialects across the country, in contrast to standard Italian arancia.
The Algarve by its particular caracteristics is one of the best places in the world to grow sweet and juicy orange. The area around Silves is particularly good, where you can visit many farms and crop fruits such as MR Frutas. There are several local types of oranges such as Dom João or Carvalhal.
In Portugal there is also a popular saying about the eating of oranges: "In the morning they are gold, in the afternoon silver, at night death."
The details about the foundation and building of the cathedral are unclear.In the process of the Reconquista,Moorish Silves was conquered in 1189 by Sancho I of Portugal,but since the city was retaken by the Moors in 1191,it is unlikely that a cathedral was built at this time.Only in 1242 was Silves definitely reconquered by Christian Knights during the Reign of King Afonso III,and it is believed that this King was responsible for beginning the construction of the cathedral as the seat of a newly found Algarve Diocese.
Opening times mon till sat-9am-5.30pm,entry is free but a small donation is expected.
Located in the city of Silves in the Algarve region of Portugal the castle was built between the 8th and 13th century AD and is considered to be the best preserved of the 'Moorish'castles of the country.The walls and towers that make up the castle are mainly a result of major campaigns and works by'Almoravides Amoadas'which was followed by others made during the first two dynasties and subsequent restoration.The castle is the most important Islamic Fortification of the current national territory,and was ranked in 1910,a national monument.
A small entry fee is required of a few Euros,opening times are 9am till 10pm and till 5pm in winter months.
This is probably the most interesting place you can visit in Silves. On the site of the former cork factory called Fábrica Inglés, the Cork Museum is an award-winning place with informative history of the regional cork industry. The museum displays some azulejo paintings of the cork farmers in the earlier time, as well as the machines and tools people used to use to create the corks for wine bottles. It also has a section on the regional entrepreneurs who made a huge success. This museum is worth a visit; it is a very interesting place to go.
La Catedral de Silves, es del siglo XIII y está dedicada a Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, fue construida con Gres de Silves , igual que el castillo , una arena de color rojizo .
De estilo gótico y con planta de cruz latina, se puede resaltar el ábside que tiene tres capillas, el pórtico de la fachada principal con capiteles góticos y la fachada sur, llamada Puerta del Sol, de estilo rococó y que es del siglo XVIII.
Silves Cathedral it was built in the thirteenth century and is dedicated to Our Lady of Conception, it was built with Gres from Silves, like the castle, a reddish-colored sand.
Gothic and with Latin cross plan, you can highlight the apse with three chapels, the portico of the main facade with Gothic capitals and the south facade, called Puerta del Sol, in rococo style and it was built on the eighteenth century.
Silves fue una de las ciudades mejor fortificadas del Al-Andalus
El castillo está hecho con gres rojo de Silves y tiene once torres desde las que se ve todo el valle del río Arade
Sirvió desde el el siglo 12 como fortaleza militar y residencia de las autoridades
Silves was one of the best fortified cities of Al-Andalus
The castle is made of Silves red sandstone and has eleven towers from which to see the whole valley of the Arade river
Served from the 12th century as a military fortress and residence of the authorities
Los antiguos edificios de esta fábrica de corcho , que eran propiedad de un inglés , se han convertido en el "Museo del Corcho" ( Museo da Cortiça ), que tiene dos puntos fuertes : uno el museo en si , que ha sido nombrado un año mejor museo industrial de Europa y por otro la parte de ocio ya que a su alrededor hay jardines , restaurantes y mucha "movida" especialmente en verano
The old buildings of the cork factory, owned by an Englishman, have become the "Cork Museum (Museo da Cortiça), which has two strengths: the museum in itself, that has been named one year the best industrial museum in Europe and other that the leisure part because there are gardens around, restaurants and much "activity"especially in summer
Silves' market is located near the Roman bridge and is fairly small and not so good looking or as well stocked as one's I'd been to in Loule or Olhao. There's a few eating options and cafes surrounding it.
This large park is located along the main road that runs along the river and is named after a poet who lived in the 11th century who, I think, was governor of Silves between 1051 and 1091, as well as Seville and Marrakech.
This museum has collections of archaeological finds from throughout the municipality of Silves, including a collection of Moorish ceramics from digs conducted at the castle. Other exhibits include artefacts from the Palaeolithic, Neolithic and bronze age periods plus those from Roman occupation. The museum also contains a well-tank, dating back to Moorish times (11th century). The well was blocked up in the 16th century and the building which now contains the museum was built over it. Interestingly the rear of the museum building backs on to a section of the city ramparts. I managed to sneak off a few photos from inside as I don't think photography is allowed.
Open: 9am-5.30pm Mon-Sat. Closed Sundays. Admission: €2.
The Santa Misericórdia Church with a fine door in Manueline style, is located opposite Silves Cathedral. The main body of the church was built in 1727/28 although the church originate from the 16th century. It features a fine retable showing Our Lady of Mercy but the church has been turned into a small art gallery.
As you climb up the hill towards the castle that sits on top, you'll suddenly come across the towns large cathedral which looks down on you at an angle. Construction was started during the 13th century on top of a former mosque in the Gothic style, but it suffered damage in an earthquake in 1352. In the 1440s, the cathedral was given a great impulse by King Afonso V. This building campaign produced the apse with its three chapels, the transept and the main portal, dating from the 1470s. The three-aisled nave was only finished in the early 16th century. The earthquake of 1755 destroyed part of the nave and its facade was also repaired.
When King John II died unexpectedly in Alvor (Portimão), near Silves, in 1495, he was provisionally buried in the main chapel of Silves Cathedral. In 1499, in the presence of King Manuel I, his remains were exhumed and transferred to the Monastery of Batalha, where John II was permanently re-buried; however, his tomb slab with a Gothic inscription is still located on the floor of the main chapel. Many important personalities of Silves were buried in the cathedral during the 15th and 16th centuries, as attested by the many tomb slabs on its floor.
Known as Torreão da Porta da Cidade (the Turret of the City Gate), this gate is the only one of four gates to the "almedina" that remain today. The almedina was a residential area within the defensive ramparts, which consisted of a barbican, built in the 12th or 13th century, which gave access, by way of two corridors, to the city. Inside the gate are two rooms and annexes which were for centuries the home of the Municipal Council and which, since 1983, have housed the Municipal Library. The tower is entered by way of an external stairway built at a later date and two high walkways which are original.
When I visited Silves, I parked my car on the other side of the river from the town and walked over this bridge. It's said to date from the Roman era as traces of a Roman road were found nearby. However, the existing structure may date from Arab rule but it was then reconstructed in the 15th century.
Inside the castle compound lie two cisterns - one of which is believed to use an old exploration well, 60 metres deep, made of copper that dates from the Roman era. The larger one is called 'El Moura Encantada', after a legend that says you can hear a Moorish princess mourning her beloved at this well where he committed suicide. This cistern has four vaults supported by tall columns and is open for a view where you can walk over the water on clear Perspex glass walkways.