Monuments & Buildings

Quartel da Atalaia

Quartel da Atalaia situated in the parish of Santiago in Tavira, was built in 1795, by Governador General do Algarve, o Conde de Vale dos Reis, Nuno José Fulgêncio de Mendonça Moura Barreto
Around 1780, due to the transfer of the Faro Infantry Regiment to this city, the number of military personnel in Tavira increased. This leads the Governor and Captain General of the Algarve, Nuno José Fulgêncio de Mendonça Moura Barreto, to exercise his influence with the court in order to build a barracks in Tavira, capable of properly house the city’s regiment. The Barracks of the Atalaia, one of the oldest in the country, is begun in 1795 with the blessing of D. Maria I, according to the lapidary inscription that tops the arch of the main entrance. Construction was halted shortly after its inception, and only resumed in 1856, after mitigating the effects of a politically and economically unfavorable conjuncture, French invadedments, court stay in Brazil and political upheavals that led to the implementation of Liberalism and the Civil War. During this interregnum the military welcomed themselves in private houses until, in 1835, following the extinction of the Religious Orders, the former Convent of Our Lady of Grace was handed over to the army. There, the military quickly adapted the former religious structures to military barracks. In turn, the Atalaia Barracks, still to be concluded, served as a hospital for civilian cholerics at the time of the plague that fell on the city in 1833. The building will be completed only in the early years of the 20th century, only then to transfer the garrison of Tavira. It is a rich example of military architecture. It features rectangular plan composed of bodies attached around a large central interior courtyard. The greatest interest lies in the main façade, consisting of a solemn central body that forms the door of arms, two pavilions of simple roof of four waters with mansardas, terraces surrounded by balustrade and, at the ends, turrets with double roof. Although the clipping of the spans, of Baroque inspiration, reveals the courtier taste of the time of D. Maria I, may be present here the lesson of pombaline architecture of the newly founded Vila Real de Santo António, in whose implementation collaborated the military engineer José Sande de Vasconcelos (1730 – 1808), highlighted to the Algarve around 1772 and possible author of the project of this barracks. During the 20th century, the building underwent some functional changes. Thus, in 1950 a new refectory is built, in 1954 the parade yard is set up and in 1970 a second floor is added in the side wings, to serve as new barracks.

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