Experience Algarve life in the past

What was life like in the Algarve? Unfortunately you can’t travel in time to find out. Instead, visit a museum to learn about fishing heritage, culture and old farming traditions in the south of Portugal. Enjoy the Algarve gives six suggestions. Learn about…

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine November 2017


Canning & conserving in VRSA 

Up until the middle of the 20th century, Vila Real de Santo António specialised in canning and conserving tuna and sardines. Learn about this industry at the Arquivo histórico Municipal António Rosa Mendes. This history archive that’s named after the Algarvian historian offers explanation of the fishing methods (also in English), a display of old packing stations and scale models of fishing boats. Especially interesting is the process of printing on a tin plate with old lithographic stones. Go here because: you’ll never look at a tin of canned fish in the same way after visiting.


Farming & fishing in Carrapateira

The small Museu do Mar e da Terra in Carrapateira gives an insight into the former daily life of Carrapateira’s inhabitants. It features historical photos as well as old fishing and farming utensils, and the permanent exhibition ‘O oceano, a nossa terra’ (The ocean, our land). A real community museum, it’s also a place where young and old locals meet up to chat about the region’s heritage. More reasons to visit: they have a virtual talking whale called ‘Jonas’ and from the museum you have a great view over the nearby sand dunes of Praia da Bordeira.


Fishing & canning in Portimão

The Museu de Portimão is housed in an old sardine canning factory in the city’s harbour. Films, static displays and live-sized models show you what life was like in Portimão up until a couple of decades ago – from the workers’ conditions to the entire process of canning with all the machinery that was used. Definitely check out the overhead conveyor belt system and the pretty old sardine cans. Also visit because: this museum offers a virtual underwater look at the Ocean Revival project site, where ships were sunken in order to create an artificial reef for divers.


Naval history & discoveries in Lagos

Interested in Portuguese explorers and a fan of Madame Tussauds? Then definitely visit the Museu de Cera dos Descobrimentos. In the wax museum of Portuguese discoveries, located in Lagos’ marina, you’ll find the maritime history of Portugal’s exploration journeys told in 16 scenarios, featuring 22 wax life-sized figures. You’ll learn about life aboard the ships and historical events, from the Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385 to the Conquest of Ceuta in 1415. Must do in this museum: get your picture taken with Henry the Navigator or Vasco da Gama.


Poetry & 19th century life in Messines

Want to know what Algarvian houses looked like from the inside, back in the 19th century? Visit the Casa Museu João de Deus in Messines. This house is a small museum in memory of the Messines-born poet João de Deus (1830-1898), who fought against illiteracy in Portugal. From the kitchen to the bedroom, it still looks exactly how it did back when the poet lived here, (helped by locals donating objects of that period in time). More interested in poetry? The Pólo Museológico in the nearby village of Alte has a permanent exhibition about local poet Francisco Xavier Cândido Guerreiro, who was born in Alte back in 1871.


Costumes & cork in São Brás

How did Algarvians dress in the beginning of the 20th century? Visit the Museu do Traje in São Brás de Alportel to find out. This costume museum, of course, displays costumes (and yes, you can also pose for pictures with cut outs), but it’s also the place to find out more about the region’s cork industry and what this meant for the people living here. In the museum’s courtyard you’ll find old carriages and larger agricultural tools. Don’t forget: to get in touch with ‘Friends of the Museum’, an organisation that organises all kinds of cultural and social activities, from jazz concerts to photography workshops, and from art exhibitions to Portuguese lessons.


See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine November 2017

Algarve life in the past

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