Santa (St) Catarina in Eastern Algarve comes under the district of Tavira. It is situated along the EN270 road which runs from Tavira in the East to just past Loule in Central Algarve. The Coat of Arms shows a wheel with razors, this was known as the Catarine wheel associated with St. Catarine Alexandria.
On approaching the Village from the East you cannot help notice the large ugly factory building with the Cooperative Agricultural building next door. The four Granit cone shaped stones used to grind grain and olives. The area plays an important role for locals in the pressing of olives into oil. Normally ten kilos of olives, gives the grower one litre of first pressed olive oil. Alternatively they can sell the olives direct. When open you can go in and see the displays they have which explain the whole process. Fascinating to see the old machinery on display with plaques (in English) that explain how the olive oil is produced.
Ask most people in the Algarve they will know that St. Catarina is well known for its handmade terracotta tiles that you find on many villa floors. They are sought after when putting character into a building. They have tried to mass produce them in a modern way but you can easily tell the difference. Stacked by hand when dry then fired in old open oven Kilns. Whilst they are known as St Catarina tiles, most are made outside the Village but surrounding areas.
Floor tiles after kiln firing
Co-operative & museum
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