São Brás de Alportel
S. Bras de Alportel is the youngest municipality of the Algarve. Until 1912 it was a parish of the council of Faro. In that year S. Bras had about 12500 inhabitants and it was the biggest and richest parish of that council. In 1914 the parish was elevated to council, with the designation of Alportel, with the headquarters in S. Bras.
The climate of this place is very mild. For this reason the Bishop of the Algarve had his Summer residence built there, and in 1918, the exceptional climate characteristics of this municipality justified the construction of the sanatorium Vasconcelos Porto, in the proximity of the village. These two reasons are still a sufficient motive for many outsiders to choose S. Bras as their home.
In the 19th century, S. Bras became an important economic centre, almost exclusively devoted to the cork industry. At the end of the 19th century and in the first decades of the 20th century, this municipality became the main production and processing zone of cork in Portugal and in the world.
The last century onwards, the dislocation of the cork factories to the region around Lisbon. In a posterior phase in the 1960s, the low prices of electrical energy, the abundance of work force and the existence of good harbours in the North of Portugal, promoted, in turn, the dislocation of this industry to the around area of Aveiro.
Due to the end of the cork industry, this municipality lost the importance it had once had, and it depopulated itself.
Industry emigrated, but the place of S. Bras remained, and its goes still producing the best cork in the world. The history of the Portuguese cork is undoubtly linked to the History of S. Bras de Alportel.
The conditions for the real estate investment are very favourable in this municipality. The excellence of the climate, the surrounding beauty of nature, the quality of the landscapes and the close proximity to Faro, LouIé, Tavira and Olhao (towns at less than 20 minutes' distance by car), make S. Bras de Alportel one of the most attractive destinies for foreign investors, especially those who are looking for a permanent residence in the Algarve.
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