Visiting Castro Marim
I’ve been in Castro Marim in 1975 (slept in the priest’s house – old stories!).
Forty four years later the essential remains the same, but it was made a noticeable effort to embellish the city.
This castle is the result of many cultures and wars.
Located in a privileged place to protect the river, the oldest identified wall comes from the 8th century BC.
Romans, developed it, and were followed by Vandals and Muslims, until the christian conquest in 1242. There are remains of all those people, but the earthquake of 1755 forced a large reconstruction. In summer it is now used as base for medieval festivities.
The second fort
It is not common two forts side-by-side in the same city.
It just happened that the old Moorish castle was not suitable for the war against Spain, ended in 1640, and the king decided to build a new stronghold, named St. Sebastian fort, because it was built replacing a shrine devoted to that saint.
In a hill not far from the castle, there’s a small fortification that was recently recovered, the Revelim of St. Anthony.
With a chapel, and a windmill, this is also the main reception point for tourists, with a new centre to explain the territory.
St. Anthony shrine
In the fort of St. Anthony, created during the war to restore independence, won in 1640, king João IV ordered the construction of this small chapel, still showing its original characteristics.
Since 2009 that we may see atop a hill in Castro Marim a new building announced as the Interpretation Centre of the land.
It is a structure dedicated to help those tourists that want to learn about the local toponymy. It is not a museum but a good sightseeing point with good information.
They call it “Medieval Days” but the heat during the day turns them into… “Medieval Nights”.
It’s a nice idea, gathering thousands of visitors from Algarve or Spain.
The program in not exactly something new – and we saw that they, wisely, used a lot Óbidos and Spanish experience – but it is a good alternative to cool a bit after a day in the beach.
I think that it is a program to repeat each year by the end of August.
Surrounded by marshes, Castro Marim is the capital of Algarve for… mosquitoes.
We were there at night, in pants, and suffered a ferocious attack, that forced us to run to the car.
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