The arab Fortress of Cacela Velha is at the wertern end of the paradise of light and nature that is the Ria Formosa, extending to the amazing beaches of Manta Rota, Altura, and Praia Verde.
It was inhabited by Phoenicians and Carthaginians 1000 BC and occupied by the Arabs in 713. The primitive Arab castle was founded in 951 by Arab prince Idn Darraj and conquered by King Afonso III in 1240, who donated it to the order of Santiago. The current fortress was rebuild in 1794 and has a star-shaped plan and two pointed ramparts. Next to it is the Mother Church which is a Renaissance work and has a baroque altar from the 16th century. On the Idn Darraj road you can see the Padres old house and an Arab-medieval cistern, surrounded by a beautifull nucleus of tradicional houses. It is unforgettable landscapeover the Ria Formosa channel, separated from the Atlantic by the beautifull beaches of the Cacela Peninsula.