Faro is the main center for the whole of the Algarve region.
The city itself has a population of roughly 40,000 people. Throughout
the town one can find buildings and ruins that run from the Roman
period up through the Moorish period. Some of the most attractive
later buildings were constructed after the disastrous earthquake
of 1755 and the earlier one of 1532.
The Moors who came to this town in the 8th Century gave it the
name of Ossónoba and developed it into a trading port.
The city was under Moorish control until 1249 when Moorish forces
were defeated by the forces of Dom Afonso III. Following this,
the city slowly began to decline in importance as a port due to
the fact that Lisbon became the main administrative center and
port of Portugal.
Today a particularly charming area of Faro is
the portion of the city that still retains some old Roman fortifications.
Within this area in the site that was once the old Roman forum is
the beautiful cathedral that was build during the 13th century.
Nearby one can also find an interesting museum that has displays
covering many different aspects of Faro.
If you have time, stop by the church known as the
Nossa Senhora do Carmo. This church contains what is considered
to be some of the best gold leaf woodwork in Portugal. In an interior
chapel one can also view the macabre spectacle of a display of the
bones of over 1,200 monks who lived and worked here. Nearby this
church is a small naval museum devoted to the maritime tradition
of this region of Portugal.
oday Faro is becoming increasingly upscale, and
is full of new apartments, nice restaurants and bars, and a well
known theatre. Visitors from around Portugal, Europe and around
the world come to Faro to soak up the history and enjoy the long
stretches of beautiful beaches the line the Algarve coast.