Algarve’s new “look” – a short history of architecture (Part 2)

Algarve’s new “look” - a short history of architecture (Part 2)

Welcome back, dear reader! Last time, we had started talking about Algarve’s new “look” – a short history of architecture took us through time and history from the dawns of Roman rule to the medieval Moorish conquest. As promised, here it is: the history of the architecture of this part of Portugal.

The Moors, we had begun to tell, arrived in Iberia a couple of centuries before the first millenium. They conquered the Algarvian city of Lagos in 716, after which the region began its dramatic cultural (and “look”) change. The Moors were Muslim warriors who settled in Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Malta and Sicily. Apart from the different religion and culture, they left a longstanding architectural legacy. They built the Moroccan style mosques and houses in red stone, abundant in specific ornaments and intricate models. Lagos and Silves display plenty of Moorish style buildings to admire, attesting the Muslim influence in the region (as is the case with Spain).

In the 13th century, the Portuguese reconquered the Algarve and banished the Moors. They celebrated this by building Gothic cathedrals and re-attested their cultural specific. The first decades of the 16th century were marked by the Manueline style (named thus after King Manuel I of Portugal, who reigned between 1495 and 1521 and whose rule was a period of unprecedented wealth and prosperity, with Portugal being one of the leading overseas empires in the world). This style was represented by flower ornaments, Christian symbols and asymmetrical structures. One such example is the Igreja da Misericordia is Loule, near Vilamoura.

Virtually simultaneously, the Renaissance architecture with its classical lines and stunning symmetry flowered and is apparent in the interior style of the Faro Cathedral.

The Baroque and Rococo followed, leading the path to the modern era, but we will leave this for one more story and, as ever, encourage you to visit Portugal and get a private transfer or a tour of your Algarve destination!