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Silves - Portugal
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Silves was once the capital of the whole district of the Algarve. During the 11th century the Moors constructed lavish palaces and created a cultural center of learning for the whole Iberian Peninsular in the city. Although an important town, commerce began a slow decline in the 15th Century due the silting-up of the river Rio Arade. Until that point the river had given the town good access to the sea.
Around the Castle and Cathedral the streets retain their former charm, although most of the town and its older buildings were destroyed by the Lisbon earthquake. The castle 'Castelo de Silves', is now the best preserved castle in the Algarve, that and the city's 13th Century Cathedral (Sé Velha) beside it are the first buildings you see as you approach Silves, they sit on the hilltop above the town. The Cathedral was built on the site of a Mosque, part of the structure collapsed in the 15th Century and much of it was remodeled in the 18th century following damage caused by the earthquake. Elements surviving from the original building are the main Baroque facade, dominated by the Gothic doorway, and a veranda held up by corbel's with gargoyles, above this a circular window.

Silves church
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