The castle was built during the Moorish dominion over the Algarve (from 712) and was amplified and modified again and again until the 14th century. The floor area is a polygon with eleven towers on roughly 12,000 m² enclosed space. Some heavy earthquakes, and particularly the devastating one from 1755, made ruins of the prideful site. Then, in the 1940ies, the castle has been reconstructed.
In front of the entrance of the castle is a big bronze statue from King Dom Sancho I. In the year 1189 he conquered Silves with the help of crusaders. Shortly thereafter the town and the castle were recaptured by the Moors.
Exposed and reconstructed foundations demonstrate how much life was cramped in the state of defence. However, a bit of luxury was allowed indeed. A palace with its own garden and bathrooms from the 12th century has been revealed in the east of the site.
There is a 400 m circuit on the castle walls. Please be very careful! Parts of the castle wall are 7 m above the inner yard and are NOT secured by any handrail.
During the last years the castle courtyard has partly been converted into an oriental garden with palms, fruit trees and a café.
In the towers artefacts are exposed that have been found during excavations.
In the north of the facilities is the Aljibe, a big cistern (20 x 16 x 7 m), which also provided the city with water.
The Cisterne dos Caes (cistern of the dogs) is, in spite of its name, a well of more than 40 m depth.
Big grain elevators, fruit trees, living animals, olive oil in clay jugs and dried fish ensured survival in the case of an attack.
Remains of the city wall and parts of the fortification were integrated in the townscape outside the castle.
Immediately at the castle wall grow banana trees and have multiple fruit.
From the castle walls you have a beautiful sight over the city of Silves and the surrounding with the all-year green fruit plantations.
Opened daily (apart from Christmas and New Year) October until May: 9.00 till 17.30 h
June until September: 9.00 till 23.00 h
Entrance fee: 2,80 €
Children, students and pensioners = 50% reduction