Silves Archaeological Museum

Silves Archaeological Museum

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Silves Archaeological Museum (Museu Municipal de Arqueologia de Silves) offers an insight into the history of Silves, Portgual, and its surrounding area, with a collection spanning from prehistory to the 17th century.

The building in which Silves Archaeological Museum is located is also of interest, having been a 19th century home and the site where a Moorish water reservoir was uncovered, available to see today.

Silves Archaeological Museum history

The Silves region was inhabited first during the Paleolithic era, whose people erected monoliths around the landscape. The town itself was founded during Roman occupation of the Lusitania province, although the region was also settled by Indo-European tribes including the Celtici and later the Visigoths. Silves became part of the Umayyad Emirate of Córdoba after 713 when the Moors invaded Iberia, but was reconquered in 1189 under King Sancho I of Portugal.

Sancho ordered the fortification of the city, a castle being built upon earlier defences (possibly Roman or Visigoth). However, Al-Andalus, the Muslim ruled part of the peninsular, sent raiders to steal booty and slaves, and the city eventually fell once again to the Muslim rulers. It was not until 1242 when the Grand Master of the Order of Santiago retook Silves in 1242. During the 19th century, Silves was an important centre of the Portuguese cork industry.

The Archaeological Museum was opened to the public in 1990, built around the 18 metre-deep and 4 metre-wide Poço Cisterna Almóada, a well uncovered during 18th century excavations. The well dated back to the Almohad Muslim period of the 12th and 13th centuries and was made from Silves sandstone. The Poço Cisterna Almóada was also accompanied by a helix staircase with 3 windows, ensuring easy access to water – rare features in Arab architecture.

The museum’s intention was to display archaeological finds from the city and surrounding area, particularly the castle and Cerro da Rocha Branca site, highlighting Silves’ long history.

Silves Archaeological Museum today

Open all day, visitors to the brightly coloured museum can view artefacts within 4 sections or chronological periods: pre-history, the Roman period, the Moorish period and the Portuguese until the 17th century. Particular highlights include the Poço Cisterna Almóada, but also the Iron Age funeral monoliths with their Southwest Peninsular inscriptions – considered the region’s earliest examples of the writing.

Getting to Silves Archaeological Museum

If driving, Silves Archaeological Museum is located off the N124 in the town centre. There is nearby parking at Parque de estacionamento. For those using public transport, Silves Piscinas bus stop (7 minutes walk away) is on bus routes 17, 31 and 113.

İzmir Archaeological Museum

The Izmir Archeology Museum (Turkish: İzmir Arkeoloji Müzesi) is an archeology museum in Izmir, Turkey, containing a number of artifacts from around the Gulf of Izmir. Most of the artifacts, which include busts, statues, statuettes, tools, and various eating and cooking utensils, come from the Bronze Age, or from the Greek and Roman periods.

The museum was established in 1924. It was built on the site of an abandoned church, called Saint Voukolos Church. The museum opened to the public in 1927. [1]

The archaeology museum was later moved to the National Education Pavilion in the Culture Park, which in turn was converted into a museum in 1951. But archaeological work in Izmir, Smyrna, and the neighboring ancient cities necessitated a larger museum. A new museum was subsequently established in 1984. The museum has exhibits from ancient sites like Bayraklı (ancient Smyrna), Ephesus, Pergamon, Miletus, Aphrodisias, Clazomenae, Teos, and Iasos. Two gardens, one in the front and one in the back, portray the history of western Anatolia. [1]

The Izmir Archeology Museum is one of the first built in Western Anatolia and contains a collection of artifacts of the Aegean Region. The museum's collection has been categorized as a regional museum rather than a local one because of the importance of its collection. [1]

The Museum is located in Konak, in the central part of the city. It is within walking distance of Konak Square. [1]

Municipal Museum of Archaeology, Silves

The Municipal Museum of Archeology is found in a modern building built along the wall of Silves, in the Algarve, Portugal.

Their collections tell the history of the region from the Paleolithic era up to the 17th century. Worth seeing the menhirs and the funerary tracks from the Iron Age. The Islamic period is particularly well represented, on which can be observed ceramics, architectural elements, etc.

At the center of the museum there is a well conserved Moorish well, discovered during the excavations. It is four meters wide and eighteen deep, and surrounded by a spiral staircase.

More information:


Rua das Portas de Loulé, Silves.

Entrance fee:

Individual entry: 2.10 euros.
Combined entry of Silves Castle + the Museum + the Municipal Archeology Museum: 3.90 euros.

Silves Castle hosts events throughout the year. During the Feira Medieval (Medieval Festival) in August there’s a nightly concert or spectacular. If you’re in the Algarve during August, this is definitely worth attending.


The easiest way to get to Silves is by car. If you haven’t hired a car the other options are bus, train, and taxi.

There are frequent trains to Silves from the nearby coastal towns including Albufeira, Lagos, Ferragudo, and Portimão. The only catch with taking a train is that Silves train station is not in Silves town centre — it’s about 2 km outside it. Getting a taxi from Silves Gare (Silves’ train station) to Silves town centre is easy, however. You can also easily get a taxi back to Silves Gare: there’s a taxi rank in Silves town centre opposite Burger Ranch (map). Trains can be booked on, and you can get the ticket sent as an SMS to your phone. Alternatively, you can buy your tickets at the station.

Bus travel is another option, and sometimes an easier one. There are regular buses to Silves from Albufeira, Portimão, and Armação de Pera.


First museum Edit

A first, rather small museum was inaugurated on 2 May 1903 to celebrate the end of the first great archaeological campaign of French excavations and to exhibit the findings. The building was designed by the French architect Albert Tournaire, financed by a trust established by the Greek banker and philanthropist Andreas Syngros. Two wings framed a small central building. The arrangement of the collection, designed by the director of the archaeological expedition, Théophile Homolle, was inspired by the view that the architectural parts and sculptures should be put "in context". Thus, parts of the main monuments of the site were reconstructed with plaster. [3] Yet, the exhibits took every inch of available space, making the exhibition look pretty crammed. Furthermore, the museographic approach lacked any chronological or thematic arrangement. The quality of the exhibits themselves was thought to be self-explanatory. The first exhibition was thus destined more to the pleasure of the eyes than to any educational purpose.

Subsequent phases Edit

Despite the admiration it inspired to the Greek and international community, already in the 1930s the museum was becoming too small to accommodate new findings or the increasing number of tourists. [2] In addition, its arrangement (or, rather, the absence of it) and the plaster restorations were being increasingly criticized. Finally, its entire appearance was criticized as a little too "French" in a period which insisted on "Greekness." The construction of a new building was launched in 1935. The new museum was representative of the architectural trends of the Interwar period and was accomplished in 1939, including a new arrangement of the objects by the Professor of Archaeology at Thessaloniki, Constantinos Romaios. The reorganisation of the Archaic collections was entrusted to the French archaeologist Pierre de La Coste-Messelière, who discarded the plaster restorations of significant artefacts, including that of the Siphnian Treasury, which had become one of the principal attractions. The antiquities were presented in a chronological order, listed and labelled. [4]

However, this arrangement was only briefly in use. The outbreak of World War II constituted a major threat to the antiquities which were put into storage. Part was kept at Delphi in the ancient Roman tombs or in specially dug pits in front of the museum. The most precious objects (the chryselephantine objects, the silver Statue of a Bull discovered three months before the outbreak of war, and the Charioteer were sent to Athens in order to be stored in the vaults of the Bank of Greece. They remained there for ten years. The charioteer was on display in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens until 1951. The region of Delphi was at the heart of the combat zone in the Greek civil war and the museum was not reopened until 1952. For six years, visitors could view the arrangement that had been envisioned in 1939. However, the museum proved insufficient and it was necessary to undertake a new phase of construction, completed in 1958. [5]

The renovation of the museum was entrusted to the architect Patroklos Karantinos and the archaeologist Christos Karouzos was sent from the National Archaeological Museum of Athens to rearrange the collection, under the supervision of the ephor of Delphi, Ioanna Constantinou. Karatinos created two new exhibition halls and modified the structure to allow more natural light into the building. The arrangement of the collection remained chronological, but a greater focus was placed on the sculpture, with statues increasingly separated from their architectural contexts. The museum reopened its doors in 1961. [6] and soon became one of the most visited tourist attractions in Greece: in 1998, it received more than 300,200 visitors, almost as many as the National Archaeological Museum of Athens in the same period (325,000 visitors). [1] [6]

Current Museum Edit

Between 1999 and 2003, the museum underwent yet another phase of renovations, carried out by the Greek architect Alexandros Tombazis. These included the construction of a new facade in a contemporary style and a new hall for the charioteer. The rest of the museum was re-designed in a modern style and adjusted to facilitate the circulation of visitors. A new lobby, a large cafeteria and a gift shop were also created. [2] The collection was rearranged in order to reconcile the need to display the main attractions of the museum effectively and the wish to present the latest theories and discoveries of archaeological and historical scholarships. An effort was also made to illustrate hitherto neglected exhibits like the classical facade of the Temple of Apollo. The museum opened its doors once more for its centenary. [7]

The collections of the Delphi Archaeological Museum are arranged chronologically in fourteen rooms.

Rooms 1 & 2 Edit

The first two rooms are devoted to the most ancient objects. The exhibition starts with Mycenaean finds, particularly clay figurines, among which a significant female figure seated on a three-legged chair, which has been viewed as a precursor of the later tripods. The majority of the exhibits, however, are bronze votive offerings, dating to the 8th and 7th centuries BC, including bronze tripods and cauldrons with decorative elements inspired by mythical creatures, such as griffins, as well as bronze figurines of warriors. The items displayed date to the late Geometric and early Archaic periods.

Faro Municipal Museum

Infante Dom Henrique Archaeological Museum, housed in the former convent of Nossa Senhora da Assunção in Faro just behind Faro Cathedral is more commonly referred to as the Municipal Museum of Faro. Situated in Praça Afonso III behind an impressive statue of the Portuguese king, the museum is probably Faro's most interesting sight and definitely worth a visit. The Museu Municipal de Faro's permanent exhibits include a range of artifacts from prehistoric Portugal to neoclassical times including pottery, paintings and a large 3rd century Roman mosaic showing Oceanus, the god of the sea, which was discovered near Faro Railway Station.

Silves is 45 minutes from Faro Airport if taking the A22 (toll roads). Or approximately 1 hour if you take the scenic route avoiding those toll roads by car. Buses are available from Albufeira (4.50 single/9.00 return). To arrive from other destinations like Faro or Lagos using public buses you’ll have to connect in Albufeira first. The town is also served by train and has its own station. Although its approximately 2km from the town so factor in a walk, a taxi, or local bus service.

Silves saw its rise to prominence in the Moorish Algarve, where its place alongside Arade river saw it become the economic center of the Kingdom. As a result of its status, it changed hands multiple times between the Crusaders and the Moorish before being fully retained in 1243. The 13 th century saw the town experience a steep decline, the Arade river which the town depended on for its vital trade silted up. With large boats no longer able to sail up the river and cut off from North African ports, its wealth dried up. With the economic and cultural capitals moving elsewhere to nearby Faro. Silves experienced a steady decline that lasted long until the 20 th century. Perhaps though, this decline is what kept expansion at bay and its historical features so well preserved which makes it the glorious town it is today.

The third phase of the Museum

Six years later, however, it became clear that the Museum needed a new extension. It was decided that they would extend and refurbish the existing building and the architect Patroclos Karantinos prepared the plans. The new approach was the result of the collaboration of the Ephor of Antiquities Ioanna Konstantinou and of Christos Karouzos, director of the National Archaeological Museum. The new Delphi Museum opened its gates in 1961, at the time when the economic and cultural regeneration of Greece brought in the country new waves of visitors, eager to admire the ancient beauty and spirit.

Silves Archaeological Museum - History

The dark red of mighty castle walls that loom over the city and the surrounding countryside. The interplay of stone and light on the gothic architecture. Vestiges of the Moorish presence in the city's history. Streets of white houses that reflect the sun and the blue sky. Herein lies the appeal of Silves where the past merges with the present.

Historical Centre
Silves retains much of its former charm in the streets of the old 'almedina', which are still laid out as they were in medieval times. The buildings that extend from the city walls to the river are, in many cases fine examples of the bourgeois architecture of the end of the 29th century and the early decades of the 20th testimony, to the new prosperity brought by the cork business. Much of the city's past can be glimpsed to this day in the patterns of its streets and its architecture. The Jewish quarter was situated between R. das Portas de Loulé and what is nowadays the parish hall, while the synagogue was outside the city Walls.

Sé Velha (Old Cathedral)
Built out of the region's fine red sandstone possibly on the site of the old mosque, it was begun in the 2nd half of the 13th century or the beginning of the 14th. Work continued into the middle of the 15th century after part of the structure collapsed. The main facade is dominated by the Gothic doorway spanned by a backdrop which ends in a veranda held up by corbels with gargoyles. The only other elements surviving from the original building are the circular window and the two buttresses, as the rest of the facade and the towers are baroque. The interior consists of three naves, with plain pillars and ogival arches. The beauty, of the transept and the apse makes them a good example of gothic art. The main chapel is flanked by recesses with a ribbed vault. On the main altar is a statue in jasper of the Our Lady with the Infant Jesus. On the floor are headstones one of which denotes the former resting place of King João II (1455-1495).

The biggest castle in the Algarve and the most beautiful military monument to the Islamic period in Portugal. It has its origins in the ramparts built around the town during the Moorish occupation, probably on the site of late Roman or Visagothic fortifications (4th /5th centuries). Its eleven towers, two of which are barbicans - joined to the ramparts by a supporting arch that holds up the walk way - and thick walls enclose an area of approximately 12,000 m2. The double entrance is gateway defended by two towers and the opening of the `traitors' gate in the north facing walls still remains. Four of the towers have gothic doorways, vaulted halls a stones bearing the marks of medieval masons.

Bridge over the Arade River
Dating back to the Medieval period, until only a few years ago it was this structure that connected Silves to the coast.
Municipal Museum
With its back to a section of the city ramparts, this building contains a well of Moorish origin (11th century) dressed with stone and 'taipa" that is approx. 60 feet deep and 8.5 feet across. Steps lead in a spiral down to the bottom. The well was blocked up in the 16th century and the house which now contains the museum was built over it. The museum's collections include archaeological finds from throughout the municipality, including a particularly interesting collection of Moorish ceramics from digs conducted at the castle.

Motorhome Park Silves: There are 43 sites available and the costs vary according to the month. It costs €8.50 (approx. $9, £7, $12 CAD, $13 AUD) around November including facilities and €9 (approx. $10, £7, $13 CAD, $13 AUD) in December. You can visit their website for more information (

Warm clothing: Even when you go to a warm location like Silves (Portugal) you should not forget to take some things with you for your trip back home. When you return you are adapted to the warmer weather and need something to protect you from your hometown temperatures.

Consider the Weather: Always look at the type of weather in Silves (Portugal). Things like humidity, wind, and rain do not show up in the temperature graph but can have a great impact on your wardrobe. There are several sites with long term forecasts and climate information. Is there often a short afternoon downpour like in the tropics, you maybe need to take a strong umbrella and shoos that can cope with the rain. If there is often a lot of wind you might need a more wind-resistant coat.

Check the local Shopping options: Try to find information about the local shopping options near your location in Silves (Portugal). Are there stores where you can buy all your daily supplies, or are some things difficult to get? For some more remote locations, the options can be limited. If a certain item is really important for you might need to take it with you.

Look at the Local Culture: The local culture in Silves (Portugal) can impact your wardrobe. If most activities are in more upscale locations you might take some more appropriate clothes with you. Or travelling if you travel to certain countries women need to cover themselves in certain areas.

Amenities: Know what’s Included in your house or apartment. Is there a coffee maker, a toaster, a washer and dryer, an iron, what is in the kitchen, what kind of towels are there? Things that are there means you do not have to take them with you. A furnished apartment or house can mean something from a few pieces of furniture to a well-stocked place with all the things you have at home. But most of the time your rental will not be stocked.

Mix and match: Wear layers so you can use your wardrobe more efficiently. And do not worry about wearing something more often, probably only you will notice this.

Important for you: If there is something that is really important for you that you want to have present in your house or apartment, take it with you. This can be something like a special knife for the kitchen, or a small mirror that you use in the morning. You can also purchase it locally if it is not that expensive.

Pet supplies: If you take your pet with you don’t forget to take supplies for a few days with you. And enough medication, vitamins, or other supplies if you can not purchase them in Silves (Portugal) locally.

Food: Don’t take a lot of food with you. Only when there is something you really can not live without you, and it is not too heavy you could consider taking it with you.

Towels: Not all locations include bigger towels for the swimming pool or a visit to the beach. If you have to take them and don’t have a lot of room you can buy some big thin towels.

Office supplies: Normally you will not find any office supplies in your house or apartment. If you think you will use them you could pack some supplies like a scissor, notepaper, envelopes, some pens, and more depending on your needs.

Limit yourself: Don’t take too many shoes and jackets, you will not need them that often.

Best-fitting: Bring your favorite and best-fitting items that can multi-function

Washer: Do you have a washer and dryer onsite, you don’t need to pack a lot of clothes

10 x Socks. For colder weather take more high socks, for warmer weather take more no show socks

3 x Bras: Take comfortable bras

2 x Panties. Take enough for the first week. After that, you can wash them.

1 x Cover Up, to use on the beach or near the pool

2 x Dresses, you can choose a comfortable one or a more smart one for a night out.

3 x Shorts, you can also take a skirt if you prefer that.

3 x Blouse or nice top: for dinner or a nice evening out

1 x Walking Shoes, they should be comfortable. It can also be a sandal or sneaker.

Watch the video: Τι έλεγε πέρυσι ο Ελπιδοφόρος για την τουρκική εισβολή (June 2022).


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