sexta-feira, junho 03, 2011

São Brás de Alportel

São Brás de Alportel is a peaceful Algarve’s village, situated in between the fertility of the inland soils and the frequented beaches of the golden coast of the Algarve region. The village is also characterized by the strong cork industry. 

São Brás de Alportel delights with its typical and popular architecture with small white houses holding the traditional Algarve’s chimney, an important Moorish heritage. 

São Brás de Alportel was already an important settlement during the Moorish occupancy of the region, although during the Middle age it lost much of its influence. Already in the 19th century the village develops due to the cork oak trees plantations that stimulated the trading and commercial development and made of this department the biggest producer of cork in the Country. Yet, in the past decades, this influence was transferred to the north of the Country, which obliged São Brás to diversify its economy. 

The village is proud of its beautiful historic centre with a lovely heritage and monuments such as the Mother Church built over a previous construction of the 15th century yet quite altered after the big earthquake of 1755; the old Episcopal Palace build in the 17th and 18th centuries for the Algarve Bishops as a place of refugee of the Sumer time high temperatures, quite altered in the 19th and 20th centuries; the nearby São Romão and Alportel Chapels with an interesting snack park. 

Quite interesting is the Ethnographic and Typical Vestment Museum and the Culture House Antonio Bentes, settled in a manor house of a “cork lord” of the 19th century, housing nowadays an exhibition of the typical vestments of the Algarve region during the 19th and 20th centuries, and also including a religious sculpture nucleus, agricultural vehicles and instruments and a exhibition dedicated to the great cork industry. 

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