Portugal: Silves

Silves is a must see town as well in the hilly inland part of Algarve. The town is dominated by the spectacular red brick castle built in the 12th century by the Moors of the Almohad dynasty on the foundation of an earlier Roman fortification. The castle sprawls for 12,000 sq m. This is the largest Islamic-built castle in the region, as this was the capital of the Moorish empire in southwestern part of the Iberian peninsula. Silves went on to continue as the nominal capital of the Kingdom of the Algarve (witchin the kingdom of Portugal) until 1910. Just outside the massive fortress is the Se Catgedral, equally grand, and built in 1242 on the foundation of the Moorish mosque.