Islamic baths - the only examples in Portugal - open in Algarve
Photo: Bruno Filipe Pires/Open Media Group

Islamic Baths of Loulé win urban rehabilitation award

Loulé is home to the only Islamic baths discovered in Portugal so far

The Islamic Baths of Loulé – the only ones of their kind to have been discovered in Portugal so far – have received the National Urban Rehabilitation Award (Prémio Nacional de Reabilitação Urbana) in the category of ‘Best Intervention under 1,000sqm’.

Created by real estate publication Vida Imobiliária and organised by construction magazine Promevi, the National Urban Rehabilitation Award has the High Patronage of the President of the Republic and aims to distinguish urban interventions deemed to be “of great value to society.”

Organisers seek to “evaluate the contribution of urban projects to the improvement of cities, their impact on the community, their success on the market, their social value, and their ability to induce change in the urban fabric.”

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 local authority also highlights that the project has contributed to the development of the “tourism, economic, and social dynamics that have marked the historic centre of Loulé in recent years.”

This is yet another accolade for the Islamic baths, which recently received the “Museography Project Award” and the “Safeguard, Conservation, and Restoration in Cultural Heritage Award” from the Portuguese Association of Museology.

The council adds 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.

By Michael Bruxo

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