This path starts at the primary school, following a narrow path towards Penedo Grande hill, where sizeable outcrops of “Grés de Silves” (Silves sandstone) emerge from the landscape. Once you reach the top of the hill, you head back to the village and the path runs parallel to the railway line until it reaches the Gavião and Arade streams.
After passing the Funcho dam and a place called Passadeiras, this path carries on towards Abrutiais. Further on you take a dirt track up “Cerro da Agulha” (Needle Hill), a slope rich in biodiversity. Next, the path winds through the Furadouro neighbourhood, finally reaching the cooler, narrow streets of the town of Messines, back to where it began.
» RELIGIOUS HERITAGE
Main Church of São Bartolomeu de Messines
Built in the 16th century, the church underwent significant changes in the early 18th century, leading it to boast architectural elements belonging to both the Manueline and Baroque styles. The gilded carving on the main altar and the twisted columns stand out as particularly distinctive features on the inside, while the same can be said for outside features such as the portico supported by Solomonic columns and the Baroque facade.
Saint Sebastian's Chapel
A simple construction with a single nave, this chapel was built during the 18th century. During the colonial war, soldiers would go there to ask for help and protection before they set off to battle. As such, this would end up being the last stop for those who did not make it back alive. Nowadays, it operates as a mortuary chapel.
Saint Peter's Chapel
Located at about 1 km from the village, this chapel is believed to have been built in the 18th century, as can be seen from the Baroque style architectural features. Carved into the façade, over the main entrance, is the year 1864, but this corresponds to the year of its restoration. The chapel has a single nave and contains a water font designed in the style of the Manueline period, probably brought here from another church.
Saint Anne's Chapel
This chapel is the legendary location of the famous battle of Sant'Ana, which took place on the 24th of April 1834 between the guerrillas of the famous “Remexido” and the liberal troops. A chapel with a single nave, it was built during the 18th century and boasts a markedly Baroque style. A tile panel by Lília Lopes depicting the battle can be admired within the church, as well as breathtaking views of its surroundings.
» NATURAL HERITAGE
Rising to a height of 248 m and providing a breathtaking view from the top, Penedo Grande is considered the most distinctive feature of São Bartolomeu de Messines – the town standing at the foot of the southern side of the Penedo (boulder) itself. In terms of vegetation, the most predominant tree is the cork oak, which is unsurprising if we are to consider that the municipality of Silves was once one of the main producers of cork in the country. Some species of Mediterranean shrubs such as French lavender (Lavandula luisieri), Cistus Crispus (Cistus crispus L.), myrtle (Myrtus communis) and rockrose (Cistus monspeliensis L.) can also be spotted.
Sítio das Passadeiras
Located within the reservoir created by the Funcho dam, Sítio das Passadeiras provides excellent conditions in which to take part in water sports.
Though it rises outside the municipality of Silves, the river crosses this municipality from east to west and is fed by tributaries such as the Gavião, Enxerim and Falacho streams. Only after the Arade Stream joins the Odelouca Stream does the Arade gain the status of River, flowing into the Atlantic once it reaches Portimão. This river is, without a doubt, one of the most important rivers in the Algarve, having connected the city of Silves to both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean since antiquity.
» CULTURAL HERITAGE
Located in Vale do Barranco, this landmark is a rocky limestone outcrop consisting of several galleries. The Remexido guerrilla supposedly hid in these tunnels for about seventeen months after the liberal victory in the Civil War between liberals and Miguelite forces.
João de Deus House Museum
This museum was inaugurated on the 25th of October 1997 with the aim of dedicating a cultural landmark to the poet and teacher it was named after, in his hometown. The museum therefore seeks to re-create the living conditions that would have been experienced by João de Deus himself, using objects from the time, many of them donated by the local population. The museum is made up of two separate areas: the first is the historical library, documentation centre, reading room and newspaper library; and the second is the museum itself, in which João de Deus' house has been recreated and
where there is also a permanent exhibition.
João de Deus Monument
This sculpture by Raul Xavier was produced in 1963 using limestone. The sculpture depicts João de Deus himself, as homage to the poet and teacher, author of the famous “Cartilha Maternal” and a notable figure from São Bartolomeu de Messines.
The Costumes and Traditions Museum
Located at the entrance to the town, the museum has been set up within a typical rural Algarve house. Inside, you will find pieces relating to the popular traditions of São Bartolomeu de Messines that date from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. Of these, those that stand out include traditional clothes worn by the people, including those used for work and their Sunday-best, as well as the clothes worn by the wealthy bourgeoisie who sold highly sought-after nuts in the town. Educational activities are carried out with the aim of sharing knowledge about the oral traditions of these populations, hoping to pass them on to future generations so as to preserve the intangible heritage of this community.
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And have a nice walk!