Discovering Faro's heritage

Discovering Faro's heritage

Inside the ramparts of the old town, Faro reveals an unrivalled multicultural heritage together with a summary of the entire history of the Algarve.

With its direct access to Ria Formosa and the ocean, the old town of Faro has often been used in the past as a maritime and commercial base. Today, it still has its historic ramparts and, as you walk through its narrow cobbled streets, it reveals many traces of its past. Opposite the marina stands the Arco da Vila (“Arch of the City”), a massive gate officially unveiled in 1812 and designed from the plans of Italian architect Francisco Xavier Fabri (1761-1817). Its structure incorporates the Porta Árabe (“Arab Gate”), dating from the 11th century, which once formed part of the old Muslim-era walls and enabled sailors to disembark directly inside the town.

Just alongside, the Jardim Manuel Bivar is the ideal place for a refreshing break, while 200 m from there, in the direction of the lagoon, is the imposing sight of Faro's superb cathedral. Built in the Gothic style in 1249, it was severely damaged during the earthquake of 1755. A few vestiges of the original do however remain, such as the tower and the large pointed Gothic gate that opens onto the body of the church. After your visit inside this monument, be sure to climb up to its roofs: they afford visitors the best panoramic view of the city and its surroundings.

Have a look around the Regional Ethnographic Museum of the Algarve, designed to preserve local memory, or the Municipal Museum, installed inside the Convent of Nossa Senhora da Assunção, in the midst of the historic quarter.

Further to the north is Faro's Church of Our Lady of Carmo, with its sumptuous baroque façade. Richly decorated, it houses carved altars that are unique of their kind. However, the main attraction is situated behind the church, at the end of a garden. Here, you will discover the Capela dos Ossos, a chapel decorated with some thousand or so skeletons that once belonged to monks, abbesses and other dignitaries. The place calls for contemplation of the painstaking work needed to compose this stunning piece of work. The aim of the Franciscan monks, who managed the project in the early 19th century, was to draw people's attention to the fleeting nature of life.

Arco da Vila
Rua da Misericórdia 8
8000-269 Faro

Jardim Manuel Bivar
Praça Dom Francisco Gomes 12
8000-269 Faro

Cathédrale de Faro
Largo da Sé 11
8000-138 Faro
Tel : +351 89 807 590

Musée ethnographique régional de l'Algarve
Praça da Liberdade 2
8000-329 Faro
Tel : +351 289 870 893

Musée municipal de Faro
Largo Dom Afonso III 14
8000-167 Faro
Tel : +351 289 870 829

Église du carmel et Capela dos Ossos
Largo do Carmo
8000-148 Faro
Tel : +351 289 824 490