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Santa Catarina in Eastern Algarve Portugal. Santa (St) Catarina 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 show a wheel with razors this was also known as the Catarine wheel associated with St.Catarine Alexandria.when approaching the Village from the East you cannot notice the large ugly factory building with the Cooperative Agricultural building next door, the four Granite cone shaped stones are what were used to grind olives, as the area plays an important role for locals in the process and pressing of olives into oil, it is normally ten kilos of olives, gives the grower one litre of first pressed olive oil, or alternatively they can sell the olives direct, when it is open you can go in and see the old press as well as information plaques that explain the whole process, it is fascinating to see the old machinery the information is in the English Language. if you ask most people in the Algarve they will know that St.Catarina is well known for its handmade Terracotta tiles that you see on many villa floors they are very 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 ovens (see photo below) whilst they are known as St Catarina tiles most are made outside the Village but surrounding areas.
The village is mainly made up of the Main High street which has a Bank with a ATM machine, Chemist, Post office ,a local news agents that also sell English and German Newspapers, due to the fact there is a 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 of the back roads are One Way and it is easy to make the mistake of going the wrong way due to the 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 really is a mass meeting place for the Locals from the surrounding hamlets, as 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, they are spectacular with Our Lady paraded along the street with fresh flowers surrounding the statues carried by locals high on their shoulders. Fairs are normally 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 there is a Carvery restaurant that is very popular more so for holding a small flea market on the fourth Sunday of the month.
Main roundabout with grinding stone
Cooperative building pressing olives
Main High street