The Algarve (pron. IPA2|aɫ'gaɾv(ɨ)) is the southernmost region of mainland
Portugal. It has a area of 5,412 square kilometres with approximately 410,000 permanent inhabitants, and incorporates 16 municipalities. The region coincides with the district of Faro, and has as its administrative centre the town of Faro, where both the region's international airport(Faro/Algarve Airport) [FAO] and public university(the University of the Algarve) are located. Tourismand related activities are extensive and make up the bulk of the Algarve's summer economy. Fish, seafood and fruit production, which includes oranges, carob beans, figs and almonds, are other important activities in the region. The Algarve is among the most popular tourist destinations in Portugal, its population more than doubles in the peak holiday season thanks to a high influx of visitors.
Conii, influenced by Tartessos, were established by the sixth century BC in the region of the Algarve. They would be strongly influenced by the Celtici. The Phoenicianshad established trading ports along the coast circa 1000 BC. The Carthaginiansfounded Portus Hanibalis — known today as Portimão — in circa 550 BC. The Romans in the 2nd century BC spread through the Iberian Peninsula, and many Roman ruins can still be seen in the region, notably in Lagos.
In the 5th century the
Visigothstook control of the Algarve until the beginning of the Moorish invasion in 711. When the Moors conquered Lagos in 716 it was called Zawaia. Faro, which the Christianresidents had called Santa Maria, was renamed Faraon, which means "the settlement of the Knights."
Due to the Moorish occupation of Iberia, the region was called "Al-Gharb Al-Andalus". "Al-Gharb" means "the west"; "Al-Andalus" is the Arabic name of muslim iberia.In the mid-12th century, the Moorish occupation ended: the "Al-Gharb" has been since then the kingdom of Algarve. It was not until the 13th century that the Portuguese finally secured the region against subsequent Moorish attempts to recapture the area - see
Reconquista. King Afonso III of Portugalstarted calling himself King of Portugal and Algarve. Later on, after 1471, with the conquest of territories in Northern Africa (considered as the Algarve of abroad in Africa) the title became with Afonso V of Portugal, King of Portugal and the Algarves here (in Europe) and abroad in Africa, and it stayed so till the proclamation of the Portuguese Republicin 1910.
In the 15th century,
Henry the Navigatorbased himself near Lagos and conducted various maritime expeditions which established Portugal as a colonial power.
The Algarve was a semi-autonomous area of Portugal with a governor from 1595 to 1808, as well as a separate
taxationsystem until the end of the 18th centuryVerify source|date=February 2008. From 1249 to 1910, to reflect the Algarve's unique status, Portuguese monarchs were known (amongst other titles) as "King/Queen of Portugal and The Algarves."
1755 Lisbon earthquakedamaged several areas in the Algarve, where a tsunamidismantled some coastal fortresses and, in the lower levels, razed houses. Almost all the coastal towns and villages of the Algarve were heavily damaged, except Faro, which was protected by the sandy banks of Ria Formosalagoon. In Lagos, the waves reached the top of the city walls. For many Portuguese coastal regions, including the Algarve, the destructive effects of the tsunami were more disastrous than those of the earthquake proper.
In 1807 when Junot was leading the first
Napoleonicinvasion in the north of Portugal, the Algarve was occupied by the Spanish troops of Manuel Godoy. The Algarve became the first part of Portugal to liberate itself from Spanish occupation, in the rebellion of Olhãoin 1808.
The Algarve is hilly, but traversed with rich valleys. Its highest point is the mountain range of Monchique, with a maximum altitude of 906m (Peak of the Fóia). It is composed of 5,412 square kilometres with approximately 410,000 permanent inhabitants (density of 76 inhabitants per square kilometre). This figure increases to over a million people at the height of summer due to an influx of
tourists. The Algarve has several cities, towns and villages. It also includes some islands and islets. The region is also the home of the Ria Formosa lagoon, a nature reserveof over 170 square kilometres and a stopping place for hundreds of different birds.
The Algarve is a popular destination for tourism, primarily because of its
beaches, Mediterranean climate, safety and relatively low costs. The length of the south-facing coastline is approximately 155 kilometres. Beyond the westernmost point of Cape St. Vincentit stretches a further 50 kilometres to the north. The coastline is notable for picturesque limestone caves and grottoes, particularly around Lagos, which are accessible by powerboat. There are many other beautiful and famous summer places such as Albufeira, Vilamoura, Praia da Rocha, Lagos, Armação de Pêra, Alvor, Monte Gordo, Tavira, and Sagres.
Maps: [http://geo.algarvedigital.pt Interactive map of the Algarve] The region is divided into 16 municipalities:
São Brás de Alportel
Vila do Bispo
Vila Real de Santo António
"Note: the Algarve region and the
Faro districtare coexistent (comprise exactly the same territory)."
Agricultural products of the region include
fig, almond, orange (" laranja do Algarve"), carob bean, strawberry treeand cork oak. Horticultureis important and the region's landscape was known for the large areas of land covered with plastic greenhouses which are used for that end. Fishingand aquacultureare important activities in the coastal area of Algarve, with sardines, soles, cyprinids, gilt-head breamand various seafoodbeing the major productions. Food processing, cementand construction, are the main industries. Tourismrelated activities are extensive and make the bulk of Algarve's economy during summer time.
Tourism and immigration in the Algarve
In the 1960s the Algarve became a very popular destination for tourists, mainly from Britain. It has since become a common destination for
Germans, Dutch and Irish people. Many of these tourists own their own property in the region. There are Algarve-based English-written publicationsand newspapersspecifically addressed to this community. In addition to the natural beauties and plenty of beaches, the Algarve has invested in the creation of a network of golf courses. Well-known beaches in the Algarve range from Praia da Luzto Armação de Pêra. A well known spa townis Caldas de Monchique.
Algarve's mild climate attracts interest from Northern Europeans wishing to have a holiday home or residence in the region. Being a region of Portugal, and therefore in the
European Union, any EU citizenhas the right to freely buy property and reside with little formality in the Algarve. ["On the Rights of Citizens of the Union...", EC Directive 2004/58 EC, retrieved 25 May 2007. [http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:229:0035:0048:EN:PDF] ] British expatriates, followed by German, Dutch and Scandinavians, are among the largest groups wishing to own a home in this sunny region of Portugal.
Tourism plays an important role in the economy of the Algarve. A large number of seasonal job opportunities are tourism-related and are fulfilled by thousands of immigrant workers from countries like
Brazil, Ukraineand Cape Verde, among others.
In March 2007, the Minister of Economy, Manuel Pinho, announced the creation of the "Allgarve" brand, as a part of a strategical promotion of the Algarve as a tourism destination for foreign citizens. [http://www.correiodamanha.pt/noticia.asp?id=234857&idselect=11&idCanal=11&p=200]
Accommodation in the Algarve ranges from high rise resorts in places like Albufeira to traditional guesthouses, located in the small towns and villages surrounding the algarve coast. Over the past 50 years the Algarve has seen an increase in development, particularly from non-Portuguese developers. While these developments are certainly not on the same level as those in Spain, they have resulted in visual pollution which has affected residents living in the area. Over the past few years many tourists visiting the Algarve have moved away from the resorts, and have chosen the comfort of a traditional Algarve guesthouse, many of these run by ex-pats from England, Holland, and Germany who have escaped to the Algarve for a quieter life.
Education in the Algarve
University of the Algarve, headquartered in Faro with an extension in Portimão, is a public university which awards all academic degrees in fields ranging from marine biologyto economicsto environmental engineering. There are also several higher education private institutions, state-run and private secondary educationschools, including a number of international schools, and a wide network of kindergardens and primary schools.
The Algarve has many sports clubs, including football teams which play in the second and third layers of the main national football championships' pyramid. Examples include the football teams of
Portimonense, Olhanenseand Louletano. SC Farenseis the most successful football club in the Algarve, however, after financial troubles it has played in the lower divisions. The Clube de Ciclismo de Tavirais a noted Portuguese cycling team. The major stadium in the Algarve is the " Estádio Algarve". The region is also host to the annual Algarve Cupinvitational tournament for national teams in women's football.
The maximum temperatures in the Algarve fluctuate between 15 and 31
°C, with the temperature never falling below zero in the winter months.
* [http://www.visitalgarve.pt/visitalgarve/vEN/ Official Algarve Tourist Information Homepage]
* [http://www.allgarve.pt/default_uk.htm Official Algarve Summer Events Website]
* [http://www.algarve.com.pt/index.php?lang=en-gb Algarve Tourist Guide]
* [http://www.algarvedigital.pt/algarve/index.php?newlang=eng Algarve Portal]
* [http://www.thealgarveinfo.com/ Algarve Tourist Guide]
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