Tavira is a Portuguese city and municipality, situated in the east of the Algarve on the south coast of Portugal. It is 28 kilometres (17 miles) east of Faro and 177 kilometres (110 miles) west of Seville in Spain. The Gilão River meets the Atlantic Ocean in Tavira.
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. 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 an important port for sailors and fishermen. The area stayed rural until the 11th Century when Moorish Tavira started to grow rapidly, becoming one of the important (and independent) towns of the Algarve.
The city has since been rebuilt with many fine 18th-century buildings along with its 37 churches. A 'Roman' 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.
Tavira is one of the most delightful and architecturally-attractive cities in the Algarve. In recent years the architecturally attractive town has been scared by a new shopping center development but still attracts visitors and house prices have increased. The development of many golf clubs close to the town has also had an effect.
Algarve´s golf courses are among the best of the world. This region is known as a true golf paradise and widely regarded as the foremost golf holiday destination in Europe. Golf Courses in and around Tavira include: Benamor Golf, Quinta da Ria Golf, Quinta da Cima Golf and Monte Rei Golf
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