Mértola is the Guadiana harbour. During the last 2.000 years the river has fulfilled its mission as a trading corridor, bringing not only goods, but new cultures and religions. Mértola represents the past of Margem Esquerda do Guadiana, a crossing point in History, which takes us back to the times of Roman and Arab invasions.
The visit is compulsory and nobody stays indifferent to the remains available, most of them with an attached museum: the Castle and the ancient Christian quarter; the Roman remainings (there is a museum under the town hall); the Arab Quarter. In a square named Rossio do Carmo there is an ancient church (5th Century) whose large collection of tombstones reminds us of the names of people who came from places like Greece and Lybia.
In the present day, Mértola represents also the possibility to have an unforgettable ride in the Guadiana, or to taste some local specialities such as the lamprey. This is a land of small enterprises and local commerce. Here are produced the famous Mantas de Mértola, a typically designed wool blanket.
The municipality has more than 100 small villages: an impressive net of secondary roads and lanes, connecting to the Algarve, Beja, Serpa and Spain.
On the left side of the river, Mina de S.Domingos remains as a symbol for the region. This was a former mining center, where copper has been extracted since the 19th Century. Nowadays, the activity has stopped but you can still visit the Miner’s Quarter and follow the railroad which connected with the Pomarão river harbour.