Like many of the coastal communities of Portugal, Luz was susceptible to attacks by pirates from the North of Africa. In the 15th & 16th centuries Luz was frequently attacked by Moors, who plied the water of the Algarve, attacked small settlements and pillaged the treasures of the churches and homes of its residences. The villagers sought refuge and safety inside the Fortress. The priest Vicente Benevides discovered that the original image of ‘Nossa Senhora da Luz’ was taken by the Moors in one such raid. Forces loyal to the King Manuel I discovered the image and the King returned it to Luz ordering the construction of a fortress to safeguard the image and protect the community
As the building was constantly remodelled it has been difficult to give it an exact date however some historians have traced the core construction back to medieval times, while others estimate it at around 1575
The Spanish took over the building in 1624 and built a tall watchtower. A wall was later added to circle the fortress and these still remain however have been rebuilt over the years
During the 1640s, in an attempt to counter the attacks, the King of Portugal (D.João IV) built a large number of similar Forts along the coast
This Fort had prolific military use until 1849 and contributed immensely to the security of Lagos and the surrounding area
Nowadays it is primarily a private residence but does have a restaurant and exotic gardens overlooking the bay. As a listed Historic Monument, it is one of the best preserved examples of coastal military architecture in the Algarve.
After the threat of Pirates, Corsairs and Occupations passed The Fort was auctioned by the Government in 1894. As a listed Historic Monument, it is one of the best preserved examples of coastal military architecture in the Algarve. Nowadays it is primarily a private residence but does have a restaurant and exotic gardens overlooking the bay
A stone carving of the national arms of Portugal was found during the renovation of the ´Fortaleza´ and is now mounted over the fireplace of the baronial hall. It consists of the shield of the first Portuguese kings surrounded by seven castles (arms of the Algarve). This sign is today part of the national flag of Portugal.