Historical Monuments in Lagos & Sagres
Discover more about it’s rich History & Culture
Old Town & Sagres point
Lagos is a bustling town full of activity, nightlife and modern attractions. However, it is also a town full of history and the monuments and architecture which take us back to the many different peoples who have settled here and the many maritime adventures which have started in Lagos impressive natural harbour. Nearby is Sagres Point, a must visit…
Over the two and a half thousand years of its existence, Lagos has been home to the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and Moors all attracted by the harbour and what it represented in terms of communication, location and therefore power. Henry the Navigator famously ordered expeditions from here, and indeed it was from here that Vasco de Gama set sail for what was to be his discovery of Brazil. Many statues dotted around the town remember past sea adventurers, including Dom Sebastião whose attempt to capture areas in North Africa ended in total disaster in 1578. Even British sailors under Nelson made Lagos a renowned stopover point as they told their countrymen back home of the wonders of the drinking and the beautiful local women.
For sightseers the ancient city walls are well preserved despite the devastation caused by the 1755 earthquake which destroyed much of the town and caused Lagos to lose its status as capital of the Algarve in favour of the less affected Faro. One church remains; the Igreja de Santo António – where Dom Sebastião reputedly attended his last mass before his tragic expedition – is also known as the golden church due the impressive baroque gilt work on display. Cherubs and animals feature among the intricate carvings often fashioned out of Brazilian gold. The local museum is also found here with artefacts from the Iron and Bronze Ages alongside sacred treasures. The ominous honour of housing Europe’s first slave market dating from 1441 and now an art gallery located in Rossio da Trindade, is another unique string to Lagos’ bow.
Sagres Fortress that is located only a 30 kms away on the headland dates back to the 15th century, although it has been built a few times since. Also on the headland is the Sagres ‘Wind Rose’, a compass with a 143 ft diameter marked out in stone on the ground. It is around the same age as the fort and was used for measuring the direction of the wind. Today it’s known by tourists: “THE END OF THE WORLD”.