The municipality of Faro is located in the central area of the Algarvian coast, by the Atlantic coast, in the unique landscape of the Natural Reservation of the Ria Formosa (the estuary of Formosa), which is one of the most important ones in Europe.
Ria Formosa extends from Quinta do Lago to Cacela Velha, in an entanglement of estuaries and islands separated from the sea by a discontinuous and fragile line of dunes. The guided visit of the Ria is worth several study book's of Botany, Zoology and Ecology because of the wealth of the fauna and beauty hidden among the entanglement of the estuaries and channels and, if at the end of the visit, the visitor takes the chance to dive in the beaches of Barrinha or at the Island Deserta (the Desert Island), places which can only be reached by boat, one can certainly say, one knows paradise.
Archaeological documents locate the human presence in the territory of this council at the time of the Palaeolithic. Faro is the present designation of Ossónoba, which was one of the most important Roman cities of the West o fthe Iberian Península. It was headquarters of the Roman Bishopric between the 3rd and 7fu centuries AD. Under the Arabic domain it kept the name of Ossónoba until the 9th century, having then the name of Santa Maria do Ocidente (Saint Mary of the West).
When King D. Afonso II conquered Faro in 1249, the domain of the Arabs in the South West of the Iberian Península ended. Santa Maria do Ocidente started to be called Faaron. Only in the 18th century was the final definite name of Faro established.
Faro always received a great protection from the Crown and, in the 16th century, it was chosen to be the headquarters of the Algarvian Bishopric (the cathedral of Faro had been built in 1251 on top of the Arab temple), substituting the one in Silves.
The cyces of economic prosperity marked the evolution of the city with the building of important temples. The churches of S. Francisco and of Carmo were built in the 17th century. After the earthquake of 1755, under the drive of the Bishop D. Francisco Gomes (it was always him in the whole Algarve), the city underwent a great urban renovation valued with the building of many palace like buildings of wealthy families.
At the end of the 19th century, with the arrival of the railway, a new impetus was brought to the urban growth of the city.
The Intemational Airport, the University of the Algarve and the location of the most important public services and the district's headquaters of banks and enterprises give Faro the statute of the most important city of the Algarve.
The parishes of Estói and Santa Bárbara, thanks to their dazzling landscapes, valued by their location to the South, have gained the justified reputation of "golden places", by the important community of foreign residents who have been settling there.
The proximity of the best golf courses of Europe, of the Vilamoura Marina and of the Airport, this latter one at a distance of less than fifteen minutes from any part of its municipality, the varied commercial and leisure offer, the abundant traditional gastronomic offer of the region in the triangle Olhão/S.Brás de Alportel/Loulé , of which Faro is the center, provide excellent opportunities for the investment in the tourist real estate, whether in the residential area or in the sense of investment in itself
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