n the framework of the architecture developed in Tavira, the scissor roofs constitute, due to their originality, a particularly interesting theme, testifying to an adaptability of construction practices and Portuguese culture in the face of new situations – In the city of Tavira, the urban space has 16th century roots, but most of its buildings date back to the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. An important heritage that must deserve all the care in its preservation and rehabilitation. Among the identity marks of this legacy, there are two of recognized prominence: the typical reixa doors or windows and the traditional “Scissor Roofs”.

The “Tesouro” or “Scissors” roofs are a looming image of the city of Tavira and exist mainly in its historic centre. It is not known their origin or when they began to be built, but it is possible to identify them not only in the panoramic views (seen from above), but also in the facades of the buildings, with their succession of triangles.

What are these “Scissors Roofs”?

They are multiple roofs, which never entirely cover a building, but only each of its divisions. They are, therefore, hipped roofs, very sloping. Given its slope, a single roof does not cover a building in its entirety unless the building is quite small. It is therefore necessary to build successive roofs. These normally cover a single room in the house (a room, for example). This fact makes it possible to know how many rooms the house has.

These four-sided, steeply sloping roofs are covered internally with reeds and externally with straw tile. Its name comes from the internal wooden bone usually called scissors. Since, as a rule, each room in the house is covered by a treasure roof, it is common to see buildings with multiple roofs, giving the Tavira sky a very peculiar appearance.

Reportage about the Scissor Roofs - Algarve: https://www.rtp.pt/noticias/cultura/telhados-de-tesouro-do-algarve-remontam-a-epoca-dos-descobrimentos-portugueses_v1106546

Santos, A. I. N. (2015). Tavira, patrimónios do mar: da ribeira à Casa Nobre de Quinhentos: o caso dos Telhados de Tesouro (Master's thesis, Universidade de Évora).

Image Reference: lumeear.pt