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Faro ( ) is a city in the Faro Municipalitymarker in southern Portugalmarker. The city proper has 41,934 inhabitants and the entire municipality has 58,305. It is the seat of the district of Faro and capital of the Algarve region. The Algarve and Faro district cover the same territory.

History

Faro Cathedral.
The Ria Formosa lagoon attracted human occupants from the Palaeolithic age until the end of pre-history. During that time a settlement grew up – Ossonoba – which was an important town during the period of Roman occupation and, according to historians, the forerunner of present-day Faro. From the 3rd century onwards and during the Visigothic period it was the site of an Episcopal see.

With the advent of Moorish rule in the 8th century Ossonoba retained its status as the most important town in the southwest corner of the Iberian Peninsulamarker. In the 9th century it became the capital of a short-lived princedom and was fortified with a ring of defensive walls. At this time the name Santa Maria began to be used instead of Ossonoba. Later on the town was known as Harun (from a local Muslim chieftain), whence its current name, Faro. During the 500 years of Moorish rule there were some Jewish inhabitants in Faro who wrote copies of the Old Testament. One of Faro's historical names in Arabic is أخشونبة. The Moors were defeated by the forces of the Portuguese King Afonso III in 1249. With the decline of the importance of the city of Silves, Faro took over the role of administration of the Algarve area.

The Earl of Essex sacked the town in 1596 and seized the library of the Bishop of Faro. These books were later donated to the University of Oxfordmarker, becoming part of the Bodleian Librarymarker.

Lagosmarker had become the capital of the historical province of Algarve in 1577 and remained so until 1756, the year following the destruction of much of the town by the 1755 Lisbon earthquakemarker. The earthquake damaged several areas in the Algarve, where a tsunami dismantled some coastal fortresses and, in the lower levels, razed houses. Almost all the coastal towns and villages of the Algarve were heavily damaged, except Faro, which was protected by the sandy banks of Ria Formosa lagoon. Since then Faro has been the administrative seat of the region.

Facilities

The city has a public university (the University of the Algarvemarker), an international airport (Faro airportmarker), a seaport, a marina, a railroad station and complete interregional bus services.

Its 30,000-seater stadium Estádio Algarvemarker, shared by the neighboring cities of Faro and Loulémarker, was one of the venues of the Euro 2004. It currently stands vacant, but locals hope that a football team will finally give use to the Stadium. The actual relevance of Louletano Desportos Clube (a club from the city of Loulémarker) and Sporting Clube Farense (from Faro), are not enough to use such a big stadium; instead they use smaller municipal stadiums. The stadium is also used to host concerts, festivals and other events.

Faro airportmarker is not too far away from the city itself. In recent years the numbers of visitors travelling through the airport has increased as more and more low-cost airlines compete to offer cheap flights to the Algarve. The transport facilities to and from Faro airport with the centre of Faro include taxicabs and a bus line.

Climate and Tourism

Faro has a Mediterranean-Subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Csa). Summers are warm to hot and sunny with average daytime temperatures of . The weather in the autumn and winter months is generally mild with temperatures around . Faro gets most of its rainfall over the winter months; rain is rare between June and September. The annual average temperature is and the annual rainfall is around 500mm. The average sea surface temperature is in January rising to in August.

Nature

Faro is located next to the Ria Formosa lagoon, a nature reserve of over 170 square kilometres and a stopping place for hundreds of different species of birds during the spring and autumn migratory periods. The beach is roughly seven kilometres from the city, and consists of a long sandy spit reached through a bridge.

Events

Igreja do Carmo
The Faro International Motorcycle Rally is a famous festival, renowned in Europe for being one of the biggest of its kind.

The city holiday is on 7 September.

The students' festival (Semana Académica da Universidade do Algarve), organized every year by students from the University of the Algarvemarker, is also an important event in Faro.

Media

Image:MarinaFaro.JPG|Faro's marinaImage:EstatuaDAfonsoIIIFaro.JPG|Statue of King Afonso IIIImage:GovernoCivilFaro.JPG|Faro's Civil Government buildingImage:MisericordiaFaro.JPG|The old church and hospitalImage:CamaraMunicipalFaro.JPG|The City HallImage:FaroArch.jpg|Street in FaroImage:Faro.ogg|Short video showing the tiled streets of FaroImage:FaroSquare.jpg|Square in central Faro

Town twinning



References

  1. Detail Regional Map, Algarve- Southern Portugal, ISBN 3-8297-6235-6
  2. UMA POPULAÇÃO QUE SE URBANIZA, Uma avaliação recente - Cidades, 2004 Nuno Pires Soares, Instituto Geográfico Português (Geographic Institute of Portugal)


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