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Santa (St) Catarina in Eastern Algarve comes under the district of Tavira. It is situated along the EN270 road which runs from Tavira in the East to just past Loule in Central Algarve. The Coat of Arms shows a wheel with razors, this was known as the Catarine wheel associated with St. Catarine Alexandria.
On approaching the Village from the East you cannot help notice the large ugly factory building with the Cooperative Agricultural building next door. The four Granit cone shaped stones used to grind grain and olives. The area plays an important role for locals in the pressing of olives into oil. Normally ten kilos of olives, gives the grower one litre of first pressed olive oil. Alternatively they can sell the olives direct. When open you can go in and see the displays they have which explain the whole process. Fascinating to see the old machinery on display with plaques (in English) that explain how the olive oil is produced.
Ask most people in the Algarve they will know that St. Catarina is well known for its handmade terracotta tiles that you find on many villa floors. They are sought after when putting character into a building. They have tried to mass produce them in a modern way but you can easily tell the difference. Stacked by hand when dry then fired in old open oven Kilns. Whilst they are known as St Catarina tiles, most are made outside the Village but surrounding areas.
St Catarina is mainly made up of the main high street, which has a Bank with a ATM machine, Chemist, Post office, local news agents. Who sell English and German newspapers, due to the fact of the nearby camping site?
There is a Mini Supermarket and about four Café/bars that offer a light lunch. Just off the main high street is the small square which stands the impressive church with its clock and bell tower that ring out to surrounding areas.
Parts of the church date back to the 16th Century. Some back roads are One Way, you can easy make a mistake by driving the wrong way due to lack of signs.
The Village has a good size monthly market dating back to 1814 selling fruit & Veg, Cheeses, Hams, fresh local olives as well as poultry and farming tools. It is a mass meeting place for the locals from the surrounding hamlets.
St. Catarina has a main church it goes without saying that it also enjoys the Religious celebrations, and food festivals that go with it, with some lasting three days. Spectacular displays, statue of (Our Lady) paraded along the streets with fresh flowers surrounding the statues carried by locals high on their shoulders. Fairs are May Day, the feast of our Lady of Sorrows held in August and the feast of Patron on 25th November. Just outside the Village at Fonte do Bispo is a carvery restaurant that is popular. More so for holding a small flea market on the fourth Sunday of the month.
Floor tiles after kiln firing
Co-operative & museum