How many days was your chimney?
In years gone by, the new home owner was asked by the artisan commissioned to build his chimney, “how many days”? The more intricate the design, the more days it would take to build the chimney, the higher the cost to the home owner. Chimneys were a statement of wealth and standing in the community.
Did you know?
Most of the chimneys in the Algarve resemble minarets, turrets or mini mosques but in actual fact they are nothing to do with the occupation by the Moors from 711 to 1249 when the Algarve was known as Al Gharb.
Quirky, eccentric and bizarre are just some of the descriptions given to the Algarve’s beautiful and ornate chimneys. The oldest chimney still in working order was built in 1713, is in perfect condition and proudly sits atop a restaurant in Porches, an area famous for Algarvean hand-painted pottery. On the lower part of this chimney is the figure of a woman with outstretched hands, painted yellow, she stands on a yellow circle.
Even today, new properties in the Algarve still have typical Algarvean chimneys, though nowadays they are mass produced and not quite the works of art of old. The chimneys themselves are different to the rest of Europe because they are built straight, from the hearth all the way up to the chimney pot.
A typical Algarvean village renowned for its chimneys is Estoi, which also boasts a Roman bridge, Roman ruins and the famous Palácio de Estói (the Pink Palace). So this is a village that is well worth a visit on all counts.
Another type of chimney is called a ‘saia’ or skirt chimney, and is unique to the area of Monchique, a rural area in the inland hills of the Algarve.