Monuments & Buildings

Castelo de Tavira

The remains of the Castelo de Tavira rise imposingly besides the Igrja de Santa Maria .
After the construction of a Phoenician wall between the 8th and 7th centuries BC, about fourteen centuries passed without any important urban agglomeration having formed on the banks of gilão. The Muslims return to resume the village of Tavira in the late 10th or early 11th centuries, promoting the construction of the castle on the hilltop of Santa Maria. One of its functions would be to protect the ford of gilão that allowed traffic between the two banks, supposedly, before the construction of the bridge. Throughout the 11th century, the locality sees increasing its importance growing towards the river. There is a population that gradually increases, also adding Muslims from the north seeking refuge in the quietest areas of the south of the Iberian Peninsula. A first Almoravid wall, built with great probability, at the end of the 11th century or already in the 12th century, followed the Almoada reform (between 1146 and 1168), a period from which its main elements date. There are considerable remains of these walls, originally built in taipa. From this period it can be seen in the current Islamic museum nucleus, in Praça da República, what remains of an old horseshoe arch door that would possibly be associated with a defensive tower. In the area of the current alcáçova, falling to the street of Liberdade, remains a powerful hexagonal albarrã tower clearly detached from the remaining structures and that, although redone, should be placed in parallel with other Iberian polygonal towers of Muslim era. After conquering the city by the Christians, works were carried out in the walled enclosure, with news of these campaigns in the reigns of D. Afonso III (1248-1279) and D. Dinis (1279-1325). In the Early Middle Ages, the walled perimeter surrounded the five hectares, indicating the importance of the village. At the turn to Modernity, the Door of D. Manuel I, open to the current Republic Square, became the privileged axis of passage between the interior and exterior of the walls, reason for its ennoblement with the Manueline symbols during the first quarter of the sixteenth century. The castle of Tavira crosses the modern age reaching the contemporaneity in a state of ruin and already without enticing infrastructure (such as the palace of the Mayor). Lost to defensive utility, the space serves as a cemetery throughout the first half of the 19th century, knowing greater agitation when a severe cholera epidemic invested over the city in 1832. In 1938 the Chamber of Tavira acquires the land of the castle, projecting to make there a viewpoint and landscape the interior of the fortress. From the initiative is born the Castle Garden. The strategy of the municipality was allied the State in 1939, which in the shadow of the celebrations of the double centenary of the foundation and independence of Portugal declares the castle of Tavira as a National Monument, receiving this restoration works in charge of the General Directorate of National Buildings and Monuments.

Share this post