History takes Silves back to many ages, yet little is known about it before the Arab occupation. Silves has a population of around 11,000.
It beggars belief what the city must have been like in its heyday, when Silves was the capital back in the 15th Century.
The build-up of silt to the main river halted trade, bringing it to a standstill. The river stayed that way until 2009 when work began to restore the river back to a working waterway, and now river trips are again possible.
In summer months, it is well worth taking one of these trips up river towards Portimao.
Silves is easily a full day-trip, with so much to offer from the moment you enter the city: there are views of the old bridge spanning the river, with parkways further along towards Monchique.
The large indoor daily market, found along the front, sells fresh fish, cheeses and cured meats, etc.
You can stroll through the many narrow streets with the bars and restaurants, along with the many shops mingled among them.
The city has its resident storks that can be found nesting above your head in the many tall chimneys. Further along are water features with marble statues depicting its history; here is where the medieval fair is held every year.
You can partake and dress in 15th-century style costumes to get a feel for how it must have been. The fair offers jousting on horseback in an old-style fort arena, built each year for the occasion: well worth watching.
The city has many stalls selling mostly Moroccan gifts, giving the spirit of the evening. It is one time a year which brings Silves alive, held over a ten-day period in August..."*
An excerpt from Karl Bradshaw-White (2015-01-30). Algarve Travel Guide: 54 Cities/Towns/Villages. Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd.
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