Vila do Bispo, Bishop Village in Algarve

Vila do Bispo is a Portuguese town in the district of Faro, Algarve region and sub-region, with about 1000 inhabitants.

It is the seat of a municipality with 179.06 square kilometers of area1 and 5258 inhabitants (2011), subdivided into 2 3 4 freguesias.4 The municipality is limited to the northern city of Lagos, northeast of Lagos and the south and west coast has in the Atlantic Ocean.

The coastline of the city, from the west coast to the beach at Burgau east, is part of the Natural Park of Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina.

The first known references to Bishop Village arise in the fourteenth century in a document of King Afonso IV, a letter Bar, dated March 27, 1329, and later in 1353 another charter in which the monarch deprive the church, Bishop and Silves Fitted jurisdiction “… the village they call the bishop, that he at Cape Sam Vincent …” 5 incorporating it at the end of Silves (Portugal).

These two charters go against the version of the story, so often repeated 6, the Village of the Bishop (later Vila do Bispo) have arisen from the donation of the village of Santa Maria Cape made by King Manuel to Bishop Fernando Coutinho.

It is simplistic idea that the village of Santa Maria Cape, having been donated in 1515 to the Bishop, rinse to be known as the Bishop Village. As evidenced by the letters of 1329 and 1353 the Bishop’s Village has existed since the fourteenth century.

In fact the village of Santa Maria Cape and the Bishop’s Village were two separate villages.

The Village of the Bishop stood initially more to the west of the current population, as shown by the writings of Father Luis Cardoso, in the eighteenth century, when it mentions the mother church, stating that the church was out of town a short distance from her, and the Village Santa Maria Cape, now extinct, stood at Curraes of Granja7.

The Bishop Fernando Coutinho (lord of Aldeia do Bispo) received a donation of D. Manuel, the village of Santa Maria Cape and integrated it in the perimeter of Bispo8 Village.

Is probably the pirate Francis Drake fire and destruction of the village of Santa Maria Cape.

The Vila do Bispo municipality has the largest concentration of menhirs in the Algarve. With a known number of around 300 exemplares10. They consist mostly of white limestone, whose whiteness makes them an element that stands out in the landscape, and is also known, in the county, three copies in sandstone. With sub-cylindrical forms, sub-conical, star or simple standing stones, the vast majority of menhirs are decorated.

The most common decorations in menhirs of Vila do Bispo municipality are:

(i) 3 or 4 sets of parallel wavy lines;
(ii) the targeted sets of ellipses;
(iii) non-threaded assemblies ellipses extending from the top to the bottom of the menir;
(iv) semi-ellipses sets that are organized around a cord on top of the menhir (see photo). It is not known its meaning.


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