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Islamic Baths

During the Islamic period, Loulé (al-Ulya) was one of the main administrative centres of the current Algarve territory and one of the localities most extolled by Arab geographers. What remains of the Loulé castle and urban wall, classified as a National Monument, attests to the importance it had in the Islamic context, both because of the size of the walled enclosure (the 5 hectares of Loulé walled area represent the largest urban settlement from the Islamic period without direct contact with the sea), and because of the artistic and archaeological relevance of the materials identified, which bear witness to an intense occupation of the Loulé medina since the 10th century.

In the medina, there is a magnificent quadrangular tower, today the bell tower of the Church of São Clemente, but which was originally the minaret of the larger al-Ulya mosque - one of the few minarets still standing in Portugal.

Within the walled perimeter are the Islamic baths from the Almohad Islamic period, probably built in the 12th century. The excellently preserved structures - the vestibule, warm room, tepid room and cold room, two tanks - give it a unique character in Portugal. Its location, next to the walls, is also original, contrasting with the usual location of public baths near mosques or the city gates, to serve the resident population and travellers.

This type of bathing complex, essential in Islamic society, was used by women and men at alternative times and on alternative days to purify the body and mind. The use of public baths lasted until the 14th and 15th centuries, after which they were either converted or deactivated and buried, and the space was used for new construction.

During the Islamic period, Loulé (al-Ulya) was one of the main administrative centres of the current Algarve territory and one of the localities most extolled by Arab geographers. What remains of the Loulé castle and urban wall, classified as a National Monument, attests to the importance it had in the Islamic context, both because of the size of the walled enclosure (the 5 hectares of Loulé walled area represent the largest urban settlement from the Islamic period without direct contact with the sea), and because of the artistic and archaeological relevance of the materials identified, which bear witness to an intense occupation of the Loulé medina since the 10th century.

In the medina, there is a magnificent quadrangular tower, today the bell tower of the Church of São Clemente, but which was originally the minaret of the larger al-Ulya mosque - one of the few minarets still standing in Portugal.

Within the walled perimeter are the Islamic baths from the Almohad Islamic period, probably built in the 12th century. The excellently preserved structures - the vestibule, warm room, tepid room and cold room, two tanks - give it a unique character in Portugal. Its location, next to the walls, is also original, contrasting with the usual location of public baths near mosques or the city gates, to serve the resident population and travellers.

This type of bathing complex, essential in Islamic society, was used by women and men at alternative times and on alternative days to purify the body and mind. The use of public baths lasted until the 14th and 15th centuries, after which they were either converted or deactivated and buried, and the space was used for new construction.

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Address:

Largo D. Pedro 1º, Loulé

Website:

Islamic Baths/

Timetable:

No visits currently; still in musealization. Expected opening for the 1st semester of 2022.

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