Tavira Churches

Ermida de Santa Ana

This chapel dates back to the Middle Ages, one of  the oldest churches of Tavira. It was transformed in the 18th century into the chapel of the Governor and Captain of the Algarve when he moved from Lagos to Tavira after the earthquake.
Information
Of medieval origin, it is one of the oldest temples of Tavira, its patronate belonging to the Order of Santiago, responsible for important military achievements of the reconquest and to whom it was the patron saint of numerous churches of the main urban centers of the Algarve since 1272. Little is known about this hermitage until the 16th century, apart from the remote time being a focus of veneration of the Tavirenses on the left bank of gilão. Its antiquity already intrigued the visitors of the Order of Santiago who, in 1518, say: We think that the so-called hermitage is so old that there is no memory of those who built it… At the beginning of the 16th century the temple will come to be referred to as the potential headquarters of a new parish of Tavira – in addition to the existing ones of Santa Maria and Santiago – whose creation was much coveted by the residents of this shore. The creation of the office of Governor of the Algarve and the promulgation of its regiment in 1624, which determined for the seat of the provincial government the cities of Lagos and Tavira, came to alter the fate of this hermitage. The temple will function as the governor’s private chapel, integrated into his palace. The passage to this new condition will have determined that the hermitage underwent some changes during the eighteenth century. In addition to its remodeling and aggregation to the governor’s premises, the baroque carving and imaginary make their appearance, highlighting the placement of the current main altarpiece in gilded carving. The hermitage consists of a single rectangular nave and chancel, in addition to the sacristy, registering in the bell tower the date of 1727. Also from the 18th century are the two identical portals on the main and side façade. Inside stands out the altarpiece of the chancel, integrating the late-medieval image of the patron saint, as well as the side altarpieces. In the 19th century, with the establishment of Liberalism and extinction of the post of governor of the Algarve, the palace, with the built-in temple, was in the possession of the army until it was acquired by the Chamber of Tavira in 1936. Shortly thereafter, a significant part of the military installations that were attached to the temple were demolished, and the temple was again isolated. The hermitage was recovered and musealized in 2006, being part of the polynucleated system of the Municipal Museum of Tavira.

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