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Home  » Lagos » Culture

Lagos has a strong influence of the long presence of Arabs. The walls around the old town witnessed the several battles fought to stop the attacks to Lagos. The wealth brought by the Discoveries is clear in the gilded wood carvings that decorated most churches.

Museums, churches, fortresses, lighthouses. Lagos has endless possibilities waiting for you.

Tourist Routes
The long stay of the Islamic peoples is very marked in Lagos. The city walls bear testimony to the many battles fought there to halt the attacks on Lagos. The wealth brought by the Discoveries is characterised by the golden carvings which decorate most of the churches.

Santo António Church
This national monument was built in Baroque style. Two bell towers, of different proportions, chime out on the hour. Inside, the nave is decorated in blue and white tiles and golden carvings. It is known in English guidebooks as the "Golden Church”

São Sebastião Church
Built in the 14th and 16th centuries on the site of a former chapel, it consists of a simple façade overshadowed by an imposing bell tower whose side portal is lavishly decorated in Renaissance style. Inside, Doric pillars separate three naves which extend to the main altar where there is a monumental image of Nossa senhora da Glória (Our Lady of Glory - 18th century), a gift by D. João V, from Brazil, and a crucifix (16th century) which, tradition has it, was in the battle of Alcácer-Quibir (1578).
Erected on a hill, the church is a prime vantage point over Lagos and the sea.

Santa Maria da Misericórdia Church
A building constructed in the 15th century. To welcome visitors in the main doorway the church has two busts of St.Paul and St.Peter, decorated with two Doric pillars. In the sacristy there are images from the 18th century, with the painting of the Baby Jesus King dressed in the style of the age being worthy of special mention. The main nave also accommodates two images of Our Lady of Pity and Our Lady of the Assumption.

São Pedro do Pulgão Chapel (or Our Lady of the Afflicted)
Near the archaeological area of Monte Molião is to be found this chapel with pale walls, a façade with Baroque characteristics and a beautiful portal in Manueline style (16th century).

São Gonçalo Oratory
This oratory was built in honour of São Gonçalo, a local boy who was born in 1360. With his spiritual vocation having manifested itself early in his life, São Gonçalo went to Lisbon University and joined the Order of Saint Augustine, finally becoming the prior at various convents. He was a musician, sacred orator, having been granted sainthood in 1778 thanks to a wide range of writings dedicated to faith and a miraculous rescue of fishermen.

Slave market
This used to be the market place for slaves from Africa (15th century) and is characterised by four arched vaults. One of the walls bears the arms of the Marquis of Nisa (17th century) and another in a window which in the 15th century used to be a door.

City walls
This defensive barrier of the "lacobrigenses” (the former name of the dwellers of Lagos) was built during the time of the Romans or Carthaginian with Christian and Arabian reconstructions. At the São Gonçalo entrance there are two very high barbicans intended to protect the city against undesirable visitors.
Between 1520 and the late 16th century the other walls were built, protecting the new quarters which sprung up after an increase in international trade. It is possible to see the city and the Serra de Monchique from the walls.

Governors’ Castle
This former fortress dates back to Arab times. Over the ages it has undergone changes. The governors, captains and generals from the Algarve region resided here in the 16th/17th centuries.
Designed on the façade is a Manueline window (16th century). The history books say that it was from here that King Sebastian attended mass before setting forth for the battle of Alcácer Quibir, a trip from which he was never to return. João Cutileiro has portrayed this battle in the form of a statue and has sculpted another alluding to the navigator Gil Eanes.

Ponta da Bandeira Fort
(or Our Lady of Penha de França)
Built in the 17th century with a moat, a drawbridge and an imposing door bearing the coat-of-arms, it protects the fort opposite the Bensafrim stream bar. Inside there is a small 17th century chapel decorated in tiles.

Regional Museum of Lagos
A museum was built in honour of the Lagos region situated wall-to-wall with the Santo António Church. On display are works of sacred art from the 17th and 18th centuries. In the area dedicated to archaeology you can also see menhirs dating back to 4000 to 3000 B.C. originating from former Roman villages situated in the region. It also has a vast collection of Algarvian ethnographic remains which are of particular importance.

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