One of the delights of returning to a place is that you discover new things and as well stumble across the familiar.  It is a few years now since we first wandered around Faro, and last week we had the urge to do it again.

So off we went, at first wandering around the walled old town before following our noses in the back streets around the railway station.  Then as I went to take a photograph of two lovely buildings I suddenly realised our subconscious had been playing with our noses we had in fact found our way along pavements we had strolled before and I was about to take a photograph of two buildings I first captured in 2013!

Faro, pronounced faru, has far more to it then evident from its skyline of water towers and modern apartment blocks would suggest.  The settlement here was originally known as Ossonoba and became one of the most important cities in the region during the Roman period and also during the later period of Muslim rule (713-1249).  Consequently many of the historical parts of the city date back thousands of years. There are also, inevitably, many buildings which are less old, less photographed but still I think a delight!

According to most of what I’ve read it became the administrative centre of the Algarve in the mid 19th century, and in the mid 20th century with the building of the airport it became the entry point for the majority of tourists.

Photograph from Dan Stanislawski's 'Portugal's Other Kingdom - The Algarve'

Thatched houses of the fishermen south of Faro

Amazingly in 1965 there were still fisherman living in thatched houses to the south of the town, and the chief industry was that of cork processing. These days Faro’s beaches are now mostly occupied by tourists and the main industry is tourism.  There are some fabulous buildings to explore in Faro, and for an excellent overview of its history and cultural heritage I recommend a 2015 Algarve Tourismo publication – Cultural Heritage Guide.