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Did you know that...The word Algarve

The word Algarve comes from Al Gharb?

Al Gharb was the region southwest of the Iberian Peninsula under Muslim rule since 711, when the Arab invasions in the Peninsula.

Al Garbe derives from an Arabic expression, Gharb, which means West. Accordingly, the Al Garbe toponym refers to the region to the west of Al Andalus, or simply to the territory to the west.

It was the last region of Portugal rescued from the Moors in the Christian Reconquest. D. Sancho I, whose reign extended from 1185 and 1211, reaches to the Algarve, but is forced to withdraw. The conquest of this territory is consummated in the reign of Afonso III, in 1249, with the taking of Silves, with troops commanded by Don Palo Peres Correia.

It is from D. Afonso III that ultimately was defined the boundaries of Portugal, the Algarve was finally an integral part of the Portuguese kingdom.

The strong and prolonged Arab domination in the region of Algarve left deep marks of their culture. We can find traces Muslims in linguistic heritage, artistic and architectural, agriculture, etc. Noteworthy is the Palace of Balconies in Silves, outstanding example of Moorish architecture in Portugal.

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Did you Know that Madeira...

A tropical archipelago with a wonderful subtropical climate and breathtaking scenery, Madeira is justifiably known as ‘the floating garden’ or ‘Pearl of the Atlantic’. It is located in the North Atlantic Ocean, some 560 miles (900 kilometers) from continental Portugal and about 370 miles (600 kilometers) from the coast of Morocco; an outpost of Europe in the Atlantic Ocean. Forming part of the Archipelago are the inhabited islands of Madeira and Porto Santo plus small groups of uninhabited islands, the Desertas and Selvagens. The Island of Madeira is the largest of them.

Madeira has a variety of rare attractions besides its luxurious blue skies and sea and its imposing valleys and mountains where plant life is abundantly diverse. The Island is famous for Madeira wine, embroidery artisans, 'Bolo de mel', exotic flowers, tropical fruits, striking scenery and its spectacular New Year's Eve fireworks, considered the biggest in the world by the Guinness Book of Records. Add all this to its balmy climate and it’s easy to see why the ‘Paradise Island’ has become the aspirational holiday destination of the 'old world'.