Algarve to launch new “Muslim route” next year

The huge cross-border “route” highlighting the remains of Muslim heritage in six Mediterranean countries will now be launched in the Algarve in 2016 – not this year as previously stated (see:

Designed to give culture-based tourism a “massive boost”, the Umayyad Route will link Portugal to Italy, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Spain – areas all once ruled by the Umayyad Islamic leadership.

Although part of the same project, each route is being developed independently by relevant local authorities.

The Algarve section was presented officially in Faro on Wednesday (June 3).

“There is a considerable amount of Muslim heritage in the Algarve that has influenced us, and a lot of history that can expand tourism from the Algarve coast to inland areas,” said regional culture director Alexandra Gonçalves.

Eleven municipalities will feature on the route, including well-known Muslim landmarks like Alcoutim, Aljezur and Silves’ castles.

With tourism so often linked to the Algarve’s beaches, tourism boss Desidério Silva has said he is happy that this project will help “diversify” the region’s offer.

“Much of the heritage is located in the Barrocal and mountainous areas of the Algarve, which are locations we also want to promote,” he said.

Portugal’s cultural and tourism entities are now working on ways to promote the route while also trying to create partnerships with private companies.

The project is led by the ‘El Legado Andalusí’ foundation and funded by the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) programme.

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