|Location:||Between Martim Longo and Vaqueiros, just off the EN 506 road. 20 km from Alcoutim About an hour's drive from Faro.|
|Open:||02-MAR to 01-NOV Tue-Sun 10:30-18:00. 02-NOV to 13-DEC Tue-Sun 10:30-16:30. 15-JAN to 02-MAR Tue-Sun 10:30-16:30. Closed 14-DEC to 14-JAN and during bad weather.|
|Classification:||Copper Mine Gold Mine|
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Guided tours:||self guided, L=750 m.|
|Address:||Cova dos Mouros, Tel: +351-289-999229, +351-281-498505, Fax: +351-289-999436. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1865||ancient mines rediscovered.|
The oldest proofs for mining activity in the Algarve are from the Stone Age, about 2,500 BC. Especially the area west of Alcoutim had some interesting resources and was mined during millennia. Alcoutim had an ideal location at the shores of the Guadiana river, which was used to transport the yield to remote locations.
The mined copper ore was found in a dyke, running north west to south east. It is surrounded by greywacke, which is locally called Mértola Formation. This kind of deposit is formed by hydrothermal mineralization.
In this area is the location of a Chalcolithic settlement called Santa Justa. And along the ore dyke many open pits were found, were the Stone age man mined the ore. This wealth history inspired a German family to found a family business, a park reviving the ancient time. It includes a reconstruction of the Stone Age village, prehistoric furnaces and of course the open cast pits. This area is visited on a 750 m long walk through the park.
The mines are also inhabited by bats, which use the shafts for hibernation during winter and for maternity during summer.
The ancient Cova dos Mouros mines were rediscovered in 1865. These copper/gold mines were worked by the Moors 5000 years ago. A unique walk of 1000 m past old mine shafts, reconstructions of primitive houses, furnaces and tools from the Chalcolithic or Copper Age are on display.
Other attractions include donkey rides, gift shop, snack bar and a natural swimming pool in the Foupana River.
Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.