Mértola - Mesquita / Igreja Matriz

Church - Early Middle Ages, Medieval Islamic Period (Almóada. Provavelmente construída no último quartel do séc. XII), Middle Ages e Modern Age (4903)
The Almohad mosque of Mértola, currently its main church (Our Lady of the Annunciation) is located on a raised platform, east of the alcazaba quarter. The mosque's construction dates back to the second half of the 12th century, overlapping with an earlier building of paleo-Christian worship (6th / 7th century AD), from which some architectural elements are reused. After the Christian conquest (1238) this mosque was Christianized by the order of Santiago, turning this building into a church. During the 16th century, records show a profound refurbishing of this church, which seek to hide many of its former structural elements but fail to erase their exotic characteristics. The mosque is a medium-sized square shaped masonry building, having a T-structure, with a wider central nave and quibla, following North African architectural models. Outside, the alminar - the minaret - can be identified (present bell tower), squared in shape and about 15m tall, as well as the courtyard that would be located to the northeast. Inside, on the southeast wall, the mihrab (prayer niche of rectangular plant and apse form) is still preserved with gypsum decoration (three multi-lobed blind arches, topped by a small ledge and framed by two infinity strands). The transformation of the mosque into a church maintained its planimetry, displaying five large nave halls and the construction of the main altar in the wall in which the mihrab was located, after being concealed with plaster. The 16th century refurbishing changed the church's roof (polychrome wooden ceiling for two-story attics), the main door (renaissance features) and the interior decoration, which followed the Manueline style. The various archaeological works carried out by the Mértola Archaeological Field (2003 - 2006) allowed to better feature its architectural structures.


The site has visiting conditions and information on site. This museum nucleus is part of the Mértola Museum. Site integrated in the Archaeological Itineraries of Alentejo and Algarve.

Visit conditions

Free entrance with information


From October 1st to June 15th Tuesday to Sunday 9:15-12:30 / 14:00-17:45. From June 16th to September 30th: Tuesday to Sunday 9:15-12:30 / 14:00-18:15. Closed on Monday and January 1st, May 1st and December 25th.



    How to get there? Best practices

    Best practices

    Good practices when visiting archaeological sites

    To visit an archaeological site is to connect with our origins, to understand our path and evolution as a species integrated in the environment, and to respect and safeguard our heritage so that future generations can also visit and enjoy it.

    Walking the paths and enjoying the structures and archaeological pieces that survived over time, fosters the understanding of what is different, but also of what is common among different populations: basically, what identifies us as Homo Sapiens.

    More than just vestiges and ruins of the past, archaeological sites showcase our capacity for creative thought, adaptation, interconnection, comprehension and resilience. Without these traits we would not have been successful as cultural beings participating in an ongoing evolutionary process. These sites also allow to consider choices made in the past thus contributing for decisions in the present to be made with greater awareness and knowledge.

    Archaeological sites are unique and irreplaceable. These sites are fragile resources vulnerable to changes driven by human development. The information they keep, if destroyed, can never be recovered again.

    As such, the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) invites all visitors to enjoy the beauty and authenticity of these sites, while helping to preserve them for future generations by adopting the following set of good practices:

    • Respect all signs; 
    • Do not try to access fenced areas; 
    • Do not climb, sit or walk on archaeological structures and remains; 
    • Respect areas where archaeological excavations are being carried out, not disturbing them; 
    • Do not collect materials or sediments;
    • Do not write or make graffiti on archaeological structures; 
    • Put the garbage in appropriate containers. If none exist, take the garbage with you until you find a suitable container; 
    • Leave the archaeological site as you found it; 
    • Do not drive bicycles or motor vehicles over archaeological sites; 
    • Respect and protect the plants and animals that live in the areas surrounding archaeological sites;
    • Report signs of vandalism or destruction to DGPC or Regional Directorates of Culture (DRC);
    • Share the visiting experience and the archaeological sites, as a way of raising awareness to their preservation and making them better known;
    • Do not buy archaeological materials and report to public security authorities, DGPC or DRC, if you suspect that archaeological materials may be for sale.

    Further information:

    AIA / ATTA (2013) – Guide to best practices for archaeological tourism. 

    Raposo, J. (2016) – Código de conduta para uma visita responsável a sítios arqueológicos. In Sítios arqueológicos portugueses revisitados: 500 arqueossítios ou conjuntos em condições de fruição pública responsável. Al-madan, 2ª série, p. 20 – 77. 

    DGPC contacts

    Phone: +351213614200 | Email: informacaoarqueologica@dgpc.pt


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