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The mix of Western and Eastern cultures is evident in Lagos. While the city is on the far Western edge of Europe, it was dominated by the Moors following their conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in the 9th and 10th centuries. Much of the Eastern influence, which can be seen throughout Portugal and Spain, is present in Lagos. Additionally, the early architecture of the Roman era can also be seen in the surviving ruins today.
Following the re-conquest of the city during the 13th century Lagos experienced a growth of new structures using the Gothic and later Romanesque styles.Throughout the city there are several statues that have been erected in honor of famous figures from the city’s unique and colorful past. These include the highly visited Dom Sebastião statue that adorns the main square by the city’s town hall. The boy king had elevated the town to the status of city in the 1570s, and made it capital of the Kingdom Algarve.
At the harbor entrance visitors can gaze upon the Forte da Bandeira, or Fort of the Banner’s Mast, which served since the 18th century as the primary defensive position at the Bensafirm River. And for more of the military might that was once Lagos, visit nearby Governor’s Castle, which was once a powerful fortress, and was residence to the Governors and Captain Generals of Algarve. Constructed by the Moors, the castle has been modified many times, but even with these improvements it serves an imposing reminder to the city’s past.The city of Lagos is also home to several important Christian churches. Notable among these are the Church of St. Anthony, which was reconstructed after being destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. It features some impressive early Christian art, and a design that is true to the pre-earthquake Medieval architecture of the original building. And also worth seeing for the scared past is the Church of Santa Maria, which dates back to the 15 th century, and is renowned for its symmetrical façade and Doric columns.