Loulé Islamic Baths classified as a national monument

by Central Magazine

The Islamic Baths of Loulé, in the Algarve, will be classified as a national monument as of today (Saturday), according to a decree published today by the Government in Diário da República.

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“The present decree classifies the Islamic Baths of Loulé as a monument of national interest, […], being attributed to them the designation of 'national monument'”, according to the diploma of the executive, signed by the Prime Minister, António Costa, and by the Minister of Culture, Pedro Adão e Silva.

The Islamic Baths of Loulé, discovered in 2006, are, according to the published text, “the first and, so far, only archaeologically documented buildings of this type in Portugal, as well as one of the most complete complexes of the kind identified in the Iberian Peninsula”.

On June 22, the Council of Ministers approved the classification of this building as a “national monument”, after the municipality of Loulé opened this procedure in November 2021 with the aim of “granting even more value” to a “unique” complex in Portuguese territory.

Since opening to the public on May 28, 2022, the Islamic Baths of Loulé have become one of the main points of attraction and tourist interest in the Algarve municipality.

The building was erected in the 12th century “next to the wall from the same period, the citadel area and the main entrance to the Islamic city, to allow inhabitants and travelers to practice the purifying ritual of ablution, in addition to longer baths”, according to the decree.

The text adds that the Islamic Baths of Loulé "are divided into five different spaces: cold room, warm room, hot room, furnace compartment and vestibule".

"Frequent by men and women, at different times, they served the population continuously between the Almohad period and the modern era, an occupation witnessed by the various campaigns of revealed works", it also reads.

The decree concludes that the baths “are worthy of a national classification”, due to the “exceptional character of these structures with a long chronology that constitute the oldest remains of the city of Al-'Ulyà, the only ones that, to date, allow the complete reading of a hammam in our country, with a considerable degree of conservation, illustrative of the most characteristic practices of Islamic society, revealing the multiculturalism that generates the culture of the south of Portugal”.

Built heritage in Portugal obeys classification and protection rules, defined by the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage.

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