Sites of Interest
Faro is a beautiful and traditional town, with
historic churches, museums, and shops selling authentic traditional
arts and crafts. Next to the tourist office, the 18th-century Arco
da Vila is one of the medieval gateways to the city. A narrow road
leads you through an Arab entranceway to the deserted square. This
was part of the old Muslim walls and represented the entranceway
into the city for anyone arriving by sea. It is considered a unique
example of Moorish architecture in Portugal with its high level
of preservation and that it still remains in its place of origin.
Adjacent to the old city and facing the town fairgrounds
is the mighty Igreja de São Francisco, with its impressively
large facade. On the inside, there are some lovely examples of tiles,
particularly the 18th century panels covering the walls of the main
chapel and in the vaults with a valuable polychromatic panel representing
the Heart of the Virgin forming the centrepiece. There is also an
important collection of 18th century Italian-style sculptures featuring
the life of St Francis.
The city's Museu de Etnografia, houses a valuable
collection of objects and photographs related to the culture of
the Algarve, in the context of a Territorial Interpretation Centre.
It is located in the building of the District Assembly. It introduces
you to Algarve's folk life, with photos of the once pristine, tranquil
fishing villages of Faro.
The Boa-Nova Lighthouse was built in 1927, it stands
46 metres high and is thus one of the tallest in Portugal at 57
metres above sea level. It was linked up to the national grid in
1964 and began running the beacons on the sea break and the jetties
to the north and south of Leixões and Felgueiras thus becoming
the first remote control network ever set up in Portugal.
The Museu da Marinha exhibits three notable and
fascinating, boat models. One is the boat that took Vasco da Gama's
on his heroic journey to India in 1497, another boat used by a group
of imperialists on their ride up the Congo River in 1492, and the
third a boat that defeated the Turkish navy in 1717. There is also
the Museu Marítimo which houses a small but interesting ethnographic
collection related to marine activities and fishing in the Algarve,
including models of the different types of vessels used.