“Igreja” in Portuguese means “church” and today the A-Z writing challenge is I, so I am drafting a post about a couple of the churches in Tavira.

Not all churches in Tavira are used for religious practice. Some have metamorphosed into museums and from that has developed an initiative called “Music in the churches.”

These events are organised by the Council (in Portuguese – Camara) or by the Academia de Música under the program, Música nas Igrejas. The musical events usually take place on Saturdays at 6 pm.

Last Saturday, 9 April, in the Igreja da Misericórdia a new composition for piano by Luís Conceição called “Equinox” was performed. Simone Marçal choreographed and danced in accompaniment.

Founded in Tavira at the beginning of the 16th century, the Misericórdia is decorated with many 18th-century azulejos depicting the 18 Works of Mercy.

This is not the only initiative that is bringing life to ancient churches.

Tavira Camara is starting a series of events called “Tours in the history of Tavira.” Beginning April 16 at 10.30am, the “The Church of Santiago,” will host the art historian, Daniel Santana.

The Gothic features of the Igreja Matriz de Santiago or Church of Santiago survived the 1755 earthquake. It is thought the church dates to the second half of the thirteenth century, and was constructed on the site of an old mosque.

It is architecturally austere, but housed inside is a valuable collection of 15th to 18th-century paintings.

“Tours in the history of Tavira” aims is publicise the city’s past, the urban landscape, the monuments as well as raise awareness of the need to protect and enhance the buildings as assets.

Entrance is free, but registration is required. (maximum of 40 participants)

Contact the Education Department at Tavira Municipal Museum to register. edu.museus@cm-tavira.pt

For more information call 281 320 500 (ext. 2308/09).

The Igreja Matriz de Santiago is located on Rua D. Paio Peres Correia, Tavira.