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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Falésia... a natural wonder!

We are enjoying a few days in the Algarve in the south of Portugal. The Algarve is hilly, but traversed with rich valleys. Its highest point is the mountain range of Monchique, with a maximum altitude of 906m. The Algarve has several cities, towns and villages. It also includes some islands and islets.

The region is also the home of the Ria Formosa, a natural reserve of over 170 square kilometers the and a stopping place for hundreds of different birds.

One of the most important facts in the Algarve's history was the five centuries of Arab occupation, visible in the regions architecture (lattice chimneys and tiles, for example) and in many places' names beginning with 'Al'.

The Algarve was once part of the Roman province of Lusitânia, later becoming part of the Visigoths' jurisdiction. The Roman presence left tracks in several places of the region. Since 1249, and until the Republic proclamation, the Portuguese monarchs were entitled "King of Portugal and of the Algarves".

Also important in the story of the Algarve were the Age of the Discoveries and the 1755 earthquake. The Algarve became a lot more important during the Discoveries, being used as one of the main departure ports. The algarvios (people from the Algarve) were an important part of the maritime adventures and of the African territory occupation. The 1755 earthquake, which had its epicentre very close to Lagos, destroyed much of the Algarve. The tremors of destruction were felt everywhere and many important monuments were lost. But not even this would stop the algarvios, who despite all the adversities rebuilt the Algarve and made it what it is today: a wonderful resort by the sea!

This picture was taken from the top of the Falésia Beach, an extraordinary combination of natural beauty!
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