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- Loulé is one of the oldest towns in the province. Although its origins are not exactly known, the foundation is attributed to the Carthaginians perhaps 404 B.C., however its walls date back to Roman times. During the Arab time the primitive village was known as "Aloalia" which means in Arabic "the hill", it was undoubtedly a flourishing land and one of the cultural centers of the civilization. In 1249 Loulé was liberated from the Moors and at that time it was already known by its current name.In 1266 D. Afonso III granted its first charter, in 1501 King Manuel I granted a new charter, whose parchment today is still in perfect condition and kept in the Town Archives. Loulé has been seriously damaged by the earthquake in 1755 as most towns in the Algarve. The reconstruction and development took place smoothly, and Loulé became one of the most important commercial centers constituting today one of the richest areas in handicraft; to highlight pieces in copper, wrought iron, articles of tinplate and leather or the decorative pieces of pottery. With the development of tourism in the 60s, the municipality of Loulé became one of the most important and richest in the country. Loulé was designated town (cidade) in 1988.According to legend during one of the military campaigns undertaken by Ferdinand I, King of Leon, his soldiers would come very close to the castle of Loulé, and it emerged a discussion about the name of the tree that could be seen in the distance. Some claimed to see a carob tree, others a chopo and others still a laurel tree. Then the monarch said "Laurus est" and indeed, it was a laurel tree, and thereafter the name "Laurus é" had been given to the village evolving to Lauroé (as to be read in ancient manuscripts), Laule and finally to Loulé. In support of this legend the arms of the town present a laurel tree on a castle.The Municipality of Loulé is located in the center of the Algarve, covering an extensive area from the Alentejo to the sea integrating nine parishes: Ameixial, Salir, Alte, Boliqueime, Querença/Benafim/Tôr, Almancil e Quarteira, e S. Sebastião, S. Clemente both urban parishes of Loulé. With 765 km2 it is the largest of the Algarve municipalities, including three sub-regions: mountains, barrocal (rocky area, rugged, located between the coast and the mountains) and the coastline. These areas offer a variety of natural landscapes and ecological habitats, such as the Ria Formosa and Rocha da Pena. Loulé is 25km away from Faro, the main airport of the Algarve.
The Municipality of Loulé extends from the mountains to the sea, with many locations worth a visit. In its territory are encompassed several protected areas such as the Nature Park Ria Formosa, Rocha da Pena and the Source of Benémola, among others. In historical heritage aspect is to highlight the archaeological site of Cerro da Vila in Vilamoura, the entire historic area of Loulé, where the parish church dates back to the reign of King Dinis (XIV century). The Castle where the Historical Archives are installed and the remaining Gothic portal that was part of Grace Convent which was destroyed by the earthquake in1755. The Municipal Art Gallery, founded in 1988, where numerous exhibitions and cultural activities take place throughout the year.Towards the interior mountains, the church in Querença is worth a visit with its Gothic and Renaissance architecture, and towards Ameixial the traveler can admire the rugged landscape of rare beauty, scenery out of sight. In Ameixial is to enhance its typical stone houses. Again towards the coast a stop in Salir to explore the ruins of its castle, which is of Arab construction, stem from archaeological excavations. Not far from Salir and passing through Benafim, we find Alte which is considered one of the most beautiful and typical villages of Portugal, its church was built before 1518 with a porch and chancel of Manueline style and tiles of XVI and XVIII century. Towards the south are still the villages of Tor and Boliqueime, where you can enjoy a magnificent panoramic view of Vilamoura. Almancil includes noble tourist areas and a golfing paradise of the luxurious tourist complexes, Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo. It is still justified to visit the Cultural Centre and the Church of St. Lourenço, which is covered with valuable tiles of century VXIII.The Algarve is famous for its excellent golf courses and the municipality of Loulé comprises12 golf courses, distributed to Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo, Vila Sol and Vilamoura and we can say without exaggeration that from all Algarvean golf courses the best are in the municipality of Loulé. This is the reason, combined with the excellent climate that the best golfers from around the world visit the county's camps throughout the year. In addition to golf Loulé municipality provides other infrastructure for various sports, such as football and rugby fields, all water sports, from jet-skiing, windsurfing, kayaking, kite surfing, diving, sailing, performing several international competitions in Vilamoura. Loulé was nominated European Sports City 2015, which is the recognition of the work that has been done over many years and will allow the integration of this region into the European sports’ network.Vilamoura is undoubtedly the center of nightlife in the Municipality of Loulé. The Casino is a reference to the thousands of tourists visiting the Algarve. Apart from the engine room and roulette, visitors can watch the magnificent shows at this location. The Casino is also one of the most popular nightclubs in the area. Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo Square are also crossing points of many national and foreign tourists in the hot summer nights. The town of Loulé also has some popular bars especially for young people. In the municipality of Loulé is a water and amusement park with many aspects related to water as well as the display of tropical birds and reptiles.