The Islamic baths have become an important local attraction
The Islamic Baths of Loulé have been officially classified as a National Monument.
The new status was officially approved in a Council of Ministers meeting held in Évora on Thursday.
It was a decision that was “anxiously awaited” in Loulé and has left the local council and the team that helped turn it into a museum “very happy.”
“It is the culmination of collective efforts that began a few years ago, involving many people, to recover such an important element linked to the genesis of this town, and ultimately, the region and the country,” said Loulé mayor Vítor Aleixo.
He explained that the Islamic baths have become an important attraction for the town since 2022, having registered a “significant number of visitors since then”.
“We now have an increased responsibility to continue disseminating this important piece of our culture to all who visit us, but also to our communities and especially to our young people,” added Aleixo.
The baths, also known as Hammam, are the first of their kind to have been found in Portugal. They are also described as “one of the most complete” found in the Iberian Peninsula.
Vítor Mestre, an architect specialising in architectural heritage rehabilitation, led the intervention carried out at the Islamic Baths of Loulé.
The local council describes it as “a project that enhanced the heritage and tourism value in the heart of the town’s historic centre at Largo D. Pedro I.
“These public bath facilities date back to the final period of Islamic occupation of the Algarve (thought to have operated between the 12th and 13th centuries) and were later used as housing in the 15th century. Thus, this intervention also aimed to enhance the archaeological remains of the noble house from the late 15th century and the medieval and modern walls,” the council adds.
The Hammam of Loulé also recently received the National Urban Rehabilitation Award (Prémio Nacional de Reabilitação Urbana) in the category of ‘Best Intervention under 1,000sqm’.
The local councils says that the Islamic baths are the first step towards the bringing one of Loulé’s biggest projects to life: the “future Cultural Block” in the historical centre of Loulé.