Algarve Portugal, Trip Report, Day Three, Part Two (Silves)

February9

We didn’t actually tour the entire castle of Silves. With the rainy weather that day we asked how much of the tour was under cover. When the helpful guide indicated that the greater majority of the tour was outside, we made our decision.

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We got a good feel for the rest of the tour by just being inside the vestibule.

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We were awed by the thickness of the walls and the engineering fetes that went into erecting them.

The walls and towers that today represent the Castle of Silves came from the campaigns of the 11th century and public works in the 12th and 13th centuries.

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Outside the main doors of the castle, we were invited to tour the beautiful Silves Cathedral. We researched the Cathedral on Wikipedia:

The details about the foundation and building of Silves Cathedral are unclear. In the process of the Reconquista, Moorish Silves was conquered in 1189 by King Sancho I of Portugal, but since the city was retaken by the Moors in 1191, it is unlikely that a cathedral was built at this time. Only in 1242 was Silves definitely reconquered by Christian knights during the reign of King Afonso III, and it is believed that this king was responsible for beginning the construction of Silves Cathedral as the seat of a newly founded Algarve diocese.

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The artistry of the stone masonry and tile work was lovely.

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I had not been in an ancient church before where the statues were “dressed” in real fabrics. The effect was very dramatic.

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I was particularly struck by the madonna near the exit. Not only was she draped in real clothing, her rosary was made of what looked like roses. Additional research unearthed this:

So is this where the “rosary comes from? It would be easy to assume that the word comes from the fact that rosaries have so long been made of rose petals; but in fact, the word “rosary” is derived  from the Latin word, “rosarium,” meaning rose garden or wreath. Joined with an old English word … “bede” … meaning prayer, the term “rosary beads” came to be.  Throughout the centuries-long existence of the Catholic church, the Catholic faithful, devoted to Mary, “The Mystical Rose,” have used the rosary for prayerful devotions to Her.   The circular rosary with its many beads is symbolic of a  rose garden, and praying the rosary by saying the “Hail Mary” at the touch of each bead is a symbolic gift to Mary of a bouquet of roses given one rose at a time.

So now you know. Even though we had GPS, we got pretty lost on our way back to Alvor. We needed to use the rest rooms and we were running out of gas so stopped on what we would later find out were the outskirts of Alvor at a gas station. The story of the amazing food we enjoyed there as will be in the next post.

Kath’s quote: “I enjoy art, architecture, museums, churches and temples; anything that gives me insight into the history and soul of the place I’m in. I can also be a beach bum – I like to laze in the shade of a palm tree with a good book or float in a warm sea at sundown”. -Cherie Lunghi

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Love never fails.

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