Silves – a kingdom ready to be discovered
Less than 20 km away from VITA Parc is another kingdom ready to be discover. Silves, once the capital of the Algarve, is still an enchanting city, full of history and authenticity.
The town is situated on a hill above the Arade River, which is born in the Serra do Caldeirão and runs through the lovely inland valleys of the Algarve, feeding the reservoirs of Funcho and Arade, and winds up in Portimão.
In Silves, the Arade River suffers from the effect of the tide, creating a daily swelling of the water levels, resembling a mirror reflecting the city. It seems almost magical, and maybe it is…
As a cherry on top of the cake sits the legendary Silves Castle (Castelo dos Mouros - Moorish Castle) on the top of the hill.
Occupying an area of about 12.000 m², it is a typical example of Islamic architecture, built between the 8th and 13th centuries, and encased in sandstone (grés), a material that is abundant in the region and which confers it its reddish colour. It is a real time machine, where the view from the walls takes us back to former times to lands we yearn to discover.
Descending from the Castle, we can also visit the National Library (Biblioteca Nacional), where not only can one find the latest books but also important editorial works, such as the best of cinema and music, national and international newspapers and magazines and a multimedia area where we can enjoy a cool drink or a bica (coffee).
Further along on the Largo da República, we find the Casa da Cultura Islâmica e Mediterrânica, which promotes cultural encounters, conferences, exhibitions, debates and readings, and the Casa Museu João de Deus, dedicated to the poet and pedagogist, offers a space where “memories of the past” are guarded.
Youngsters can also visit the Quinta Pedagógica de Silves, offering many activities that motivate and create awareness about sustainability and environmental issues, as well as learn about the old traditions, associated with the rural life of the region.