Algarve’s new “look” – a short history of architecture (Part 1)

Algarve’s new “look” - a short history of architecture (Part 1)

One of the footprints of humans’ passage through time and history is represented by their buildings: solid souvenirs they pass on to future generations, so today we turn to Algarve’s new “look” – a short history of architecture in the region and in Portugal in general may bring us to surprising conclusions. Let’s take a (mental) look!

Having been influenced throughout the centuries by elements as varied as the ancient Romans, the Moors, the Hebrews and more recently, the English and the French, the sunny shores of the Algarve represent a “melting pot” of… architectural styles. Age-old relics stand side by side with modern minimalist shops, Renaissance buildings face postmodern monuments, all in an eclectic and enticing liberal mixture.

Chronologically speaking, the Romans were the first to leave clear traces of their passing. As all empires, they wanted to leave their mark through the buildings they created – and they did love building! Roads, stone bridges and aqueducts were their specialties, but they also erected lavish countryside villas and monuments decorated with the finest mosaics. In Silves, you can still cross the Ponte Romana (Roman Bridge) across the Rio Arde. Near Faro, there is also another ancient site: the Milreu ruins in Estoi (a beautiful proof of the fine mosaic we were just mentioning).

Jumping forward a few centuries, we come to the rule of the Moors. (It is true that the Romans were directly followed by the Visigoths, but their stay was short and left virtually no traces in the architectural legacy of Portugal). The Moorish style, however, was a different story. The Moroccan style, with its ribbed vaults and arches and intricate flower models and minarets, is very much present in today’s Algarve.

Hoping to have captured your attention, we promise to continue our journey next time. Meanwhile, we encourage you to explore the Algarve whenever you first get the chance!