Tavira

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Tavira
General view of Tavira
General view of Tavira
Flag of Tavira
Coat of arms of Tavira
LocalTavira.svg
Coordinates: 37°07′N 7°39′W / 37.117°N 7.650°W / 37.117; -7.650Coordinates: 37°07′N 7°39′W / 37.117°N 7.650°W / 37.117; -7.650
Country Portugal
RegionAlgarve
Intermunic. comm.Algarve
DistrictFaro
Parishes6
Government
 • PresidentTiago Miguel Faro (PS)
Area
 • Total606.97 km2 (234.35 sq mi)
Population
 (2011)
 • Total26,167
 • Density43/km2 (110/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC±00:00 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+01:00 (WEST)
Websitewww.cm-tavira.pt/

Tavira (Portuguese pronunciation: [tɐˈviɾɐ] (listen)) is a Portuguese town and municipality, capital of the Costa do Acantilado, situated in the east of the Algarve on the south coast of Portugal.[1] It is 28 kilometres (17 miles) east of Faro and 75 kilometres (47 miles) west of Huelva across the river Guadiana into Spain. The Gilão River meets the Atlantic Ocean in Tavira. The population in 2011 was 26,167,[2] in an area of 606.97 km².[3] Tavira is the Portuguese representative community for the inscription of the Mediterranean Diet as a Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO.[4]

History[edit]

Bronze Age to the Roman Empire[edit]

Tavira medieval bridge.

Tavira's origins date back to the late Bronze Age (1.000-800 BC).[5] In the 8th century BC it became one of the first Phoenician settlements in the Iberian West. The Phoenicians created a colonial urban center here with massive walls, at least two temples, two harbours and a regular urban structure which lasted until the end of 6th century BC, when it was destroyed by conflict.

It is thought its original name was Baal Saphon, named after the Phoenician Thunder and Sea god. The Romans later called it Balsa.

After laying abandoned for a century, it was revived and became an even larger settlement during the so-called Tartessian Period. Tartessian Tavira, was again abandoned by the end of the 4th century BC. Another urban center emerged at nearby Cerro do Cavaco, a fortified hill occupied until the time of Emperor Augustus.

The Roman Empire to the Moorish Conquest[edit]

During the time of Caesar, the Romans created a new port, some 7 kilometres (4 miles) from Tavira, named Balsa. Balsa became a big town, in fact much bigger than Tavira, that grew, prospered and decayed in parallel with the Roman Empire. When the Moors conquered Iberia, in the 8th Century, Balsa was already extinct as a town.

Under Roman rule, Tavira was a secondary passing place on the important road between Balsa and Baesuris (today Castro Marim).

Moorish Rule[edit]

Santiago church

The Moorish occupation of Tavira between the 8th and 13th centuries left its mark on the agriculture, architecture and culture of the area. That influence can still be seen in Tavira today with its whitewashed buildings, Moorish style doors and rooftops. The Tavira Castle, two mosques and palaces were built by the Moors. The impressive seven arched "Roman bridge" is now not considered to be Roman after a recent archaeological survey, but originates from a 12th Century Moorish bridge. This was a good time economically for Tavira, which established itself as an important port for sailors and fishermen. The area remained rural until the 11th century when Moorish Tavira (from the Arabic Tabira, "the hidden") grew rapidly, becoming one of the important towns of the then Gharb al-Andalus (the west), today’s Algarve.

The Reconquista[edit]

In 1242 Dom Paio Peres Correia took Tavira back from the Moors in a bloody conflict of retaliation after seven of his principal Knights were killed during a period of truce. Dom Paio’s Christian troops decimated most of Tavira’s population and the few survivors were kept in a tiny quarter known as "Mouraria".

Fishing boat in Tavira

The 1755 earthquake[edit]

In the 18th century, the port on its river was of considerable importance for shipping produce such as salt, dried fish and wine. Like most of the Algarve, its buildings were virtually all destroyed by the earthquake of 1755. This earthquake is thought to have reached 8.5–9.0 on the moment magnitude scale and caused extensive damage throughout the Algarve due to high intensity shaking (XI (Extreme) on the Mercalli intensity scale) and tsunamis.

The earthquake is referred to as the Lisbon earthquake due to its terrible effects on the capital city, although the epicentre was some 200 km (124 mi) west-southwest of Cape St. Vincent in the Algarve region.

Demographics[edit]

Pop. Tavira Municipality (1801–2011)
1801 1849 1900 1930 1940 1960 1981 1991 2001 2008 2011
10 557 14 162 25 392 27 786 28 920 27 798 24 615 24 857 24 997 25 394 26 167

Tavira today[edit]

Panoramic view of Tavira, seen from the Castle
Pousada Convento de Tavira, now a hotel; the church was converted to a room that is a venue for various events

The city has since been rebuilt with many fine 18th-century buildings along with its 37 churches. A bridge links the two parts of the town across the River Gilão. The church of Santa Maria do Castelo, built on the ruins of a mosque, holds the tombs of Dom Paio Peres Correia and his knights. The church dates back to the 13th century, with the clock tower having been recreated from what was once a minaret. A bust of Dom Paio who died in Tavira in 1275, can be seen on the corner of the town hall.

At one time fishing was the area’s primary industry but that declined, partly due to the changing migration patterns of tuna fish and advancing silt in the river Gilão.[6][7]

Historic centre of Tavira, 2019
Bell and clock towers, Church of St James (Igreja Matriz de Santiago), Tavira

The population is in the region of 25,000 inhabitants (municipality of Tavira) supporting a military base. Although still relatively untouched by mass tourism, there are several golf courses in the vicinity. The local beach lies past the salt pans and can be reached via the nearby Santa Luzia footbridge or by ferry, taking visitors to the sand-bar island known as Ilha de Tavira, part of the Ria Formosa natural wetlands park.[8]

In recent years the Gran Plaza shopping centre, incorporating a cinema, supermarket shops, and restaurants, was built on the outskirts of the town. House prices have increased sharply in recent years. The development of many golf clubs close to the town has also had an effect.

As one of the popular towns in the Algarve, Tavira benefits from tourism which is the primary aspect of the region's economy.

Climate[edit]

Tavira has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa) with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Together with Faro, it is among the sunniest cities in Portugal and in Europe, typically averaging around 3,150 hours of sunshine.[9] Due to its location on the Algarvian Sotavento, Tavira is sheltered from frontal systems coming from the west but exposed to the influences of humid air masses coming from the south. The city receives predominantly western winds. Temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F) are registered, on average, once a year. In contrast to the western coasts of Portugal, fog is very uncommon in Tavira, occurring on average only three times a year.[9]

Climate data for Tavira, elevation: 25 m or 82 ft, normals 1991-2020, extremes 1973-1994
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 22.0
(71.6)
24.5
(76.1)
28.5
(83.3)
30.0
(86.0)
32.6
(90.7)
37.4
(99.3)
39.0
(102.2)
39.4
(102.9)
39.2
(102.6)
34.0
(93.2)
28.0
(82.4)
24.0
(75.2)
39.4
(102.9)
Average high °C (°F) 15.4
(59.7)
16.1
(61.0)
18.8
(65.8)
20.7
(69.3)
22.5
(72.5)
26.6
(79.9)
30.7
(87.3)
29.8
(85.6)
27.2
(81.0)
22.0
(71.6)
19.2
(66.6)
16.5
(61.7)
22.1
(71.8)
Daily mean °C (°F) 11.0
(51.8)
11.8
(53.2)
14.1
(57.4)
15.4
(59.7)
17.8
(64.0)
21.4
(70.5)
25.0
(77.0)
24.2
(75.6)
21.8
(71.2)
17.7
(63.9)
15.0
(59.0)
12.9
(55.2)
17.3
(63.2)
Average low °C (°F) 6.6
(43.9)
7.6
(45.7)
9.5
(49.1)
10.1
(50.2)
13.1
(55.6)
16.2
(61.2)
19.2
(66.6)
18.7
(65.7)
16.3
(61.3)
13.3
(55.9)
10.9
(51.6)
9.2
(48.6)
12.6
(54.6)
Record low °C (°F) −2.0
(28.4)
−1.5
(29.3)
0.5
(32.9)
3.0
(37.4)
4.2
(39.6)
7.2
(45.0)
9.5
(49.1)
11.0
(51.8)
8.4
(47.1)
5.2
(41.4)
1.5
(34.7)
−2.0
(28.4)
−2.0
(28.4)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 56.5
(2.22)
58.3
(2.30)
32.8
(1.29)
42.8
(1.69)
20.9
(0.82)
6.8
(0.27)
1.7
(0.07)
1.2
(0.05)
14.2
(0.56)
70.3
(2.77)
110.9
(4.37)
108.1
(4.26)
524.5
(20.67)
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 5.7 5.4 4.4 5.7 2.9 1.1 0.4 0.4 1.7 5.0 6.9 7.6 47.2
Average relative humidity (%) 80 79 72 69 64 63 59 58 64 72 77 79 70
Mean monthly sunshine hours 170.8 193.4 206.0 277.4 334.6 358.1 395.3 370.4 290.5 243.0 172.5 164.9 3,176.9
Percent possible sunshine 55 63 55 52 75 81 89 88 78 70 57 55 68
Source 1: Météo Climat 1991-2020,[10] 1973-1994[11]
Source 2: IPMA (1951-1980 sunshine hours),[12] (1961-1990 Humidity)[13]

Parishes[edit]

Administratively, the municipality is divided into 6 civil parishes (freguesias):[14]

Aerial view of Tavira

Transport[edit]

Tavira has its own railway station on the line from Vila Real de Santo António to Faro and Lagos. Trains are operated by Comboios de Portugal (CP). Connections are available at Faro station for trains to Lisbon and the rest of Portugal.

The A22 toll motorway passes near to the town. This offers fast road access along the Algarve coast and eastwards to Seville.

The nearest international airports are Faro and Seville.

International relations[edit]

Tavira is twinned with:[15]

Notable people[edit]

portrait of Álvaro de Campos

Sport[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Detail Regional Map, Algarve- Southern Portugal, ISBN 3-8297-6235-6
  2. ^ Instituto Nacional de Estatística
  3. ^ "Áreas das freguesias, concelhos, distritos e país". Archived from the original on 2018-11-05. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  4. ^ "Portugal's Representative Community | Dieta mediterrânica". dietamediterranica.net. Retrieved 2021-05-15.
  5. ^ Pappa, Eleftheria (2012) "Retracting the divisions? Fresh perspectives on Phoenician settlement in Iberia from Tavira, Portugal." TMA (Tijdschrift voor Mediterrane Archeologie / Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology) vol. 47: 7-13
  6. ^ https://wanderingportugal.com/maps/14/algarve+map, Algarve Cities and Attractions Map
  7. ^ http://www.ealgarve.com/destinations/tavira/, Tavira
  8. ^ "Ria Formosa, a Natural Park to discover in the Algarve - Formosamar".
  9. ^ a b "Estudo de Impacte Ambiental do Porto de Pesca de Tavira" (PDF). Portuguese Environmental Agency. p. 76. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  10. ^ "Moyennes 1991/2020 Tavira". Baseline climate means (1991–2020) from stations all over the world. Météo Climat. Retrieved 6 May 2022.
  11. ^ "Extremes for Tavira". Météo Climat. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  12. ^ "Plano de Gestão das Bacias Hidrográficas das Ribeiras do Algarve" (PDF). Portuguese Environmental Agency. p. 131. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  13. ^ "Plano Municipal de Defesa da Floresta Contra Incêndios" (PDF). Tavira Municipality. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  14. ^ Diário da República. "Law nr. 11-A/2013, pages 552 118-119" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  15. ^ "Geminações". cm-tavira.pt (in Portuguese). Tavira. Retrieved 2019-12-11.

External links[edit]

Municipality of Faro District (Algarve)

Map of the Greater Metropolitan Area of the Algarve

Albufeira
Alcoutim
Aljezur
Castro Marim
Faro
Lagoa
Lagos
Loulé
Monchique
Olhão
Portimão
São Brás de Alportel
Silves (Portugal)
Tavira
Vila do Bispo
Vila Real de Santo António
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