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Paderne Castle
Paderne, Albufeira, Portugal
Paderne Castle.JPG
Paderne Castle, Algarve, Portugal.
Type Moorish castle
Coordinates 37°9′26.37″N 8°12′0.02″W / 37.157325°N 8.2000056°W / 37.157325; -8.2000056
Built mid to late 12th Century
Of Taipa construction, Trapezoidal footprint.
In use Abandoned in the 16th Century
Controlled by Property in the Public Interest since 1971
The Entrance and Rampart

Paderne Castle (Castelo de Paderne) is in Algarve, Portugal. This hill fort was built by the Moors in the second half of the 12th Century. Its is eight kilometers (five miles) from the Algarve resort of Albufeira, on a River Quarteira bend close to the village and civil parish of Paderne. It is 7.5 km (4.7 miles) north from the coast.

The Roman Bridge at Paderne

The castle is one of seven on the national flag of Portugal. Its location on a rocky peninsular bend was of strategic importance as it controlled the ancient Roman road "Via Lusitanorum" crossing the Quarteira River on the south. The Roman bridge still stands at the crossing point below.



The castle is mostly ruinous, almost a hectare in size and has a trapezoidal perimeter footprint. The eastern side, which has the least natural defence has a substantial tower and is built of Taipa (Mixture of mud, chalk, lime and aggregate that sets like concrete). This tower, the only one left standing in the enclosure, protrudes from the wall and is connected to the main fortification by an upper passageway. On the outside of this tower it is still possible to make out the whitewash strips which were applied to the joins of the layers of taipa to give the impression that the tower was built from masonry[1]. Nevertheless these mud walls are still 1.8 meters thick and are constructed on a substantial stone plinth which can be seen at the base of the perimeter walls. There are also at intervals, vertical openings to allow for drainage of any accumulative water inside the castle walls. Below the tower can be seen the remains of ramparts which ran across the eastern perimeter but most of it has collapsed, probably at the time of the earthquake of 1755. This rampart which is lower than the main walls also defended the main Gateway to the castle, which is at a right angle to the main wall which created an 'L' shaped entrance designed to make any frontal attack that much more difficult. Not all the stonework in the entrance way is original, being replaced and made safe during restoration work. In side the precinct of the castle can be seen the remnants of a cistern. On the south wall are the ruins of the former chapel of Nossa Senhora do Castelo which was the Parochial church for the nearby village and date from the 14th century. The church was abandoned by the residents of Paderne in 1506 [2] when a new parochial church was built in the village. In 2002 archaeological digs of the castle precinct have brought to light evidence of dwellings and streets within the castle compound and the discovery of the remains of a sophisticated sewerage system and vestiges of the network for the cisterns and channels for the collection and supply of drinking water. Paderne Castle was, in fact, a fortified village and predates the foundation of today’s town of Paderne, possibly by as much as two centuries.


Almohad control on the Iberian Peninsula and the paths of counter-attacks from the Christian Armies from the North

The castle was essentially constructed in the time of the Almohad dynasty[3] but vestiges of early fortifications have been found and it is assumed that there once was an early Roman fortification on the site. The Almohad were an Islamic dynasty whose power base was in North Africa. The Almohad dynasty like its predecessors the Almoravids were concerned about the advancing Christian army from the north who were steadily advancing southwards. They pledged themselves to protect their territories and began an intensive period of military construction and fortification in the Algarve here at Paderne and also at Faro, Loulé and Silves and many other locations in the area. Muslim depopulation of the countryside caused by the relentless Christian tactics of raiding and pillaging the local Muslim lands whilst avoiding outright conflict with the Almohad forces was another good reason for the fortification constructions such as Paderne which provided the local population with a place of relative safety from the raids.


In 1182 the castle is recorded as being conquered by the armies of King Sancho I with the help of English Christian mercenaries during a continuous night raid. In 1191 Muslim forces of the Almohad dynasty under the command of Caliph Abu Yusuf Ya’qub al-Mansur recaptured the castle and surrounding lands. The castle remained in the control of the Almohads for 57 years until 1249 when the forces of King Afonso III[4] under the command of Dom Paio Peres Correia finally conquered the castle and ended Muslim control of the region. The troops of Peres Correia massacred all the inhabitants of Paderne castle in their conquest. It was shortly after this time that the chapel was built, thought to be on the ruins of the mosque as was the custom of the Christian re-conquest of Iberia. Only future investigation will prove whether this is the case.



  1. ^ Catarino, H., “O Castelo de Paderne (Albufeira): Resultados da Primeira Intervenção Arqueológica”, Arqueologia Medieval, Vol. 3, Porto, 1994, pp.73–87.
  2. ^ Information taken from the information board on the road up to the castle, November 2007.
  3. ^ Catarino, H., “O Castelo de Paderne (Albufeira): Resultados da Primeira Intervenção Arqueológica”, Arqueologia Medieval, Vol. 3, Porto, 1994, pp.73–87.
  4. ^ *This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.


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