A second post about my visit to the south of Portugal. The first one was about the little town of Olhão, where I stayed with friends. This post will be about the slightly more important city, Faro, which is also where you find the regional international airport. I made a very short visit and concentrated on the “Cidade Velha”, the old town.
A little bit of etymology? We shall not forget that this part of the world was under Moorish rule during some five centuries. The name of the region, Algarve, has of course Arabic origins – (“al ḡarb” = the west). Also the city name of Faro has obviously nothing to do with what you first would imagine, a lighthouse (farol in Portuguese, faro in Spanish, phare in French…), but the old name of the city, Faaron, seems again to have some Arabic origins - the name of a local “quadi” = judge. The name of Olhão comes also from the Arabic - “al hain” = the source.
A major entrance to the old city is by the “Arco de Vila”. You are of course fascinated by the storks on the top of the building.
There was another stork on the top of the Cathedral Tower… I wanted to get a closer look.
The Cathedral, the “Sé”, was completed in 1251, but was severely damaged in the 1755 earthquake, often referred to as the Great Lisbon Earthquake, but with its origin in the Atlantic it touched large parts of Portugal, northern Africa… It was actually felt in the whole western world and was followed by an important tsunami. The interior of the church is today a mix of gothic, renaissance, baroque…
Some other views of the charming old town, including a place where you can buy some azulejos.
A walk along the old fortress walls and I prepared myself for a visit of the lagoon, the Ria Formosa.