Praia dos Pescadores in the municipality of Albufeira
|Coordinates: / 37.08972; -8.24583 / 37.08972; -8.24583|
|• President||Carlos Eduardo da Silva e Sousa (PSD)|
|• Total||140.66 km (54.31 sq mi)|
|Lowest elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|• Density||290/km (750/sq mi)|
|Time zone||WET/WEST (UTC+0/+1)|
|Patron||Nossa Senhora da Conceição|
Albufeira (Portuguese pronunciation: [aɫβuˈfejɾɐ] ( listen)) is a city, seat and municipality in the district of Faro, in the southernmost Portuguese region of the Algarve. The municipality population in 2011 was 40,828, in an area of 140.66 square kilometres (54.31 square miles). The city proper had a population of 13,646 in 2001. It is 250 kilometres (160 mi) from Lisbon, and is within close proximity of Paderne Castle. Lagos is located 30 kilometres (19 mi) to the west, and Faro 45 kilometres (28 mi) to the south-east. A tourist destination (due to its coastal conditions), Albufeira expands to approximately 300,000 residents during the summer and during New Year celebrations, owing to the number of hotels and lodgings in the district, that includes marina facilities, golf courses, restaurants and bars for the annual flood of visitors.
It is unclear when the first settlements specifically formed in the region of Albufeira, although scientific research suggest origins during the pre-historic epoch, and that the town of Albufeira formed as an out-port of the maritime fishery. The primitive settlement was occupied by the Romans, named it Baltum, introducing a centralized administrative structure and developing intense agricultural activities along with commerce. The Romans constructed aqueducts, roads and bridges, of which parts still remain.
The name originated from the Arab Al-buhera, which means castle of the sea, owing to its location along the coast, or the alternately al-Buħayra, for the lagoon, in reference to the lagoon that formed in the lowlands. The Arabs constructed strong defensive structures, making the area almost impregnable, allowing this area to remain in the hands of their forces longer than other possessions in Portugal. The development of agriculture during this period was notable, with the introduction of new techniques and plant species. The Moors used the plow and fertilizers, as well as winches for lifting the water from the wells, introducing the irrigation of fields, constructing dams and transforming uncultivated areas into gardens and orchards.
The Christian conquest of the region began at the end of the 12th century. When Afonso III of Portugal occupied the throne, most of the Algarve had already fallen into the hands of the Christians. Templar and Hospitaler Knights, military and religious orders that supported the Reconquista, assaulted many of the lands occupied by the Arabs, but were never successful in taking Albufeira. It was following the capture of Faro that the siege of Albufeira became unsupportable. Encircled by enemy forces on all sides, it fell in 1249 to the forces of Afonso III, who donated the lands to the Order of Aviz in 1250. The Moors were persecuted terribly by the victorious army, which chased the remaining forces into a cavern, known today as Cova do Xorino, situated near the southern limits of the old city. The town became part of the kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves. King D. Manuel I awarded a Charter (foral) to the Town of Albufeira on 20 August 1504 and from that day the town was governed according to the legislation in force for the rest of the country.
Albufeira was one of the towns of the Algarve most affected by natural calamities, but it was the 1755 Lisbon earthquake which caused the worse damage. The sea invaded the town with 10 metres (33 ft) waves, destroying almost all the buildings along the coast. In the town proper, only 27 residential buildings survived the natural disaster, but in states of ruin. The parochial church, an old mosque adapted by the Christians, where many of the residents sought refuge during the cataclysm, collapsed causing 227 deaths. Even following these events, the Algarve continued to experience aftershocks, until 20 August of the following year, which hindered the reconstruction under the Bishop D. Francisco Gomes de Avelar.
In 1833, during the Liberal Wars between absolutist and liberal forces, Albufeira was encircled and attacked by Remexido's soldiers: a popular absolutist leader, who profoundly damaged the village and executed many of its inhabitants. After the 19th century, the community grew through the expansion of the fishery. This is why the locals annually celebrate 'Festival de Peixes', which has been tradition and serves to honor the fisheries in Albufeira that helped with the growth of the city.
In the first decades of the 20th century, the export of fish and nuts represented the largest contribution to the local economy of the municipality. The town itself had five factories employing 700-800 people, mostly wives of fishermen working in local production. Yet, between 1930 and 1960, there was a considerable decline in fortunes, resulting in the closing of many of these factories, the reduction in fishing boats along the coast and the abandonment of many of the homes. The population was reduced by half and the fishing industry became a subsistence activity, supporting local consumption only.
The town started to become a hub for tourism in the 1960s, and has grown to accommodate this since, growing out into the surrounding hills to accommodate thousands of the 5 million tourists who visit the Algarve region each year.
|Northeast: Guia||North: Ferreiras||Northwest:Boliqueime|
|East: Armação de Pêra||West: Olhos de Água|
|Southeast: Atlantic Ocean||South: Atlantic Ocean||Southwest: Atlantic Ocean|
Albufeira is twinned with:
Tourism and commerce are the main activities in Albufeira. Most tourists arrive via Faro Airport. After sunset, the centre of Albufeira comes alive with bars, restaurants, and shops to suit most tastes, from authentic Portuguese-fare to Irish, English, and Dutch restaurants and pubs.
The tourist areas are divided into two main areas, Areias de São João, known colloquially as The Strip, and the Old Town. The Strip's main street is Avenida Francisco Sá Carneiro which is full of bars, restaurants and open-air discothèques. It is not a pedestrian street so cars pass through the crowd at all hours. It is a very nightlife oriented area, very popular with young people. The Albufeira Bull Ring is close by, as is the Kiss-nightclub.
The Old Town is situated right at the seafront and is predominantly a pedestrian area. Street-artists entertain the crowds and there is a large choice of restaurants, bars and shops. There are open-air discothèques and many bars that have a live band every night (the most famous being Vertigo on the central square). Measured in number of bars and restaurants the Old Town is about four times the size of The Strip.
The architecture of the region is an eclectic mix of typical Portuguese Algarvean pale white and tiled residential homes, along narrow streets, intermixed with modern tourist developments. The apartments near the Marina e Bryn are a unique mix of pinks, blues, and yellows, dubbed locally as Legoland. This can be seen in the design of many buildings in the area. In addition, the municipality is dotted with rich historical and architectural landmarks, such as the following:
A local culinary specialty is a rich steamed stew dish of local shellfish, traditionally referred to as Cataplana (named for the cookware used in its preparation), which is a well known dish from the Algarve. Similarly, the Caldeirada (or fish stew) and the simple grilled sardines, are also popular examples of the traditional dishes, typical of the Portugal and coastal areas.
The local football team is Imortal DC. Several regular football tournaments are played in the Algarve, notably the Algarve Cup. Also, many British teams spend the summer in Albufeira for pre-season training sessions, participating in friendly games, including Sunderland, Ipswich Town, Aston Villa Fulham Sheffield Wednesday and Brentford (which have played games in various venues in the area. This has meant that an affinity between the town of Albufeira and Ipswich Town has been created which results in an annual trip being arranged for an Ipswich home game each season for the residents of Albufeira).
The city plays host to the Almond Blossom Cross Country competition annually. Organized in 1977, the event attracts international-calibre runners, boosting this sport and tourism to the area.
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|Municipality of Faro District (Algarve)|
|Albufeira||Alcoutim||Aljezur||Castro Marim||Faro||Lagoa||Lagos||Loulé||Monchique||Olhão||Portimão||São Brás de Alportel||Silves||Tavira||Vila do Bispo||Vila Real de Santo António|