Sky, sea, soft golden sand. Next, an ochre cliff crowned by the flashing white of the houses. A view of Albufeira that keeps in the mind of those who visit it.
Archaeological sites confirm that there were men living in the Albufeira area in the Neolithic period and during the Bronze Age. The Romans settled in Albufeira, on the Cerro da Vila, a rock formation that constituted an impregnable quasi-peninsula overlooking the sea and the mouth of the Albufeira creek. Little is known of the Roman town of Baltum beyond the fact that it was a fishing centre and that there were mines operating in its vicinity.
With the Arab conquest, the city was given the name of Al-Buhera, and it is from this that its current name derives. The Moorish occupation was a period of prosperity based on agriculture and on trade with North Africa, which led to the construction - or reconstruction - of the town's castle and defensive walls.
After the first Christian occupation in 1189/1190, Albufeira became part of the kingdom of the Algarve after the definitive reconquest in 1249.
A period of decline ensued due to dwindling trade with the ports of the Mediterranean, and was followed by economic revival during the period of the Discoveries (15th/16th centuries). In the 18th century, a series of seismic tremors, culminating in the earthquake of 1755, reduced Albufeira to poverty, and it was only at the end of the 19th century that prosperity returned, with the growth of the fishing and fish preserves industry.
Since the 1960s Albufeira has become an internationally renowned centre for tourism, which has brought renewed growth and, in 1986, elevation to the status of a city.
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