Tavira, Eastern Algarve. Portugal
The epicentre of the Eastern Algave, Tavira is very well known by most visitors to the Algarve. In the last 10 years Tavira has developed immensely with a large increase in tourism from throughout Europe. With a much more residential appeal and population it has the benefit of a year round appeal and doesn’t close down in the, traditionally, quieter winter months.
Since the earthquake of 1755 the city has since been rebuilt with many fine 18th-century buildings along with its 37 churches. A 'Roman' (actually Moorish) bridge links the two parts of the town across the River Gilão. The church of Santa Maria do Castelo, built on the site of a Moorish mosque, holds the tombs of Dom Paio Peres Correia and his knights.
The church dates from the 13th century and the clock tower has been remodeled from the original Muslim minaret. A bust of Dom Paio Perres Correia who died in 1275 can be seen on the corner of the town hall. Its original economic reliance on the fishing industry has now passed due to changed migration patterns of Tuna and further silting up of the river Gilao.
The population is in the region of 25,000 inhabitants(municipality of Tavira) supporting a military base whilst the surrounding area is still fairly rural and undeveloped. This is now changing due to the demands of the tourist industry and opening of golf courses in the near vicinity. The beach for this town lies past the salt pans and is reached by a ferryboat that takes the visitor to the sand-bar island known as Ilha de Tavira, part of the Ria Formosa. The island and beaches can also be reached from the nearby footbridge in Santa Luzia.
Many people believe the construction of the large commercial shopping centre was not fitting with the traditional setting and history of Tavira, however it’s another clear sign that the city is moving with the times and actively seeking investment providing jobs and fuelling an already hugely improving property market in the region.