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AMAZING Castles of Portugal - The Top 30 Castles You Must See


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Portugal's Islamic/Moorish Past



In this documentary, we uncover the influence that 500 years of Muslim occupation had on Portugal and Portuguese culture. We visit some important sights and hear from Portuguese people regarding their views on this significant part of their history. Despite being overlooked at times, the Islamic occupation, known as its Moorish past, has had a huge impact on Portugal. While in Spain, the seven centuries of Muslim rule is very well-known, in Portugal it typically goes unnoticed. Despite being overlooked at times, the Islamic occupation, known as its Moorish past, has had a huge impact on Portugal. The Muslims invaded present-day Portugal in the year 711 and established their capital in what is modern day "Silves". A significant part of this documentary takes us to Silves, which is still one of the best places in Portugal to see the influence of the Muslim period. Silves was the main access route to the inland areas of the Algarve, and the Silves castle, which was built by the Almoravid Arabs in the 11th century, is the best preserved and most significant castle in the region. One of Portugal's main tourist attractions are its the beautiful beaches in the Algarve region. The name Algarve itself is derived from the Arabic word "al-Gharb", meaning the West. Portugal was the most Western part of the Muslim Empire and it was officially referred to as al-Gharb al-Andalus, meaning West of Al-Andalus. Nowadays Al-Andalus is often referred to as Muslim Spain, or Islamic Iberia. It is not just the physical monuments which make Portugal’s Muslim past evident, but you can also find it in the country’s language and culture, even though the entire Reconquest centred around getting rid of Islamic influence altogether. Some Arabic words have permanently entered the Portuguese language, words for sugar, rice, olive oil, lettuce, village, the West and many others. Even Portugal’s most popular holiday spot, Albufeira, gets its name from Arabic, having then been called (Albuhayra) which means the lake in Arabic. The journey also takes us to Sintra, among other places, where the massive Moorish Castle stands. It was built by Muslims between the 9th and 10th centuries, the castle was vital in order to protect its population. The southernmost region of Portugal, was finally conquered by Christians and taken away from the Muslims in 1249, and in 1255 the capital shifted to Lisbon. Neighbouring Spain would not complete its Reconquista until 1492.


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