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City Walls - Faro

Faro City Walls
© Sónia Lopes / CC BY-SA 3.0
Arco do Repouso
© Steven Brener / CC BY-SA 3.0
Rear view of Arco da Vila
© Husond / CC BY-SA 3.0

Muralhas de Faro

Faro's ancient city walls (Muralhas de Faro), parts of which form a broken ring around Faro’s compact Cidade Velha (Old Town) have an interesting history, reflecting the town's tumultuous past.  The Romans, who called the town Ossonoba, made their presence felt here and built a wall around the area which would have contained the forum and various important buildings. 

The Moors who later held the town from the early 8th century for almost 500 years reinforced the defensive structures and today Moorish influences can still be seen in the arches around the various entrance points to the historic centre.  When the Moors were expelled by the forces of King Afonso III in 1249, the Islamic and Jewish inhabitants of Faro were sent to live in quarters outside the city walls. New defensive walls were built here in 17th century to help defend the city from the worst effects of the Wars of Restoration

What can be seen today are the remains of the 17th century Cerca Seiscentista, which have various churches and other structures built into the remains of the wall. Three noteworthy entrances into the Cidade Velha through the city walls are; the impressive and ornate Arco da Vila; the Arco da Porta Nova, leading off the Largo da Se plaza, which connects the old town with the seafront; and the Arco do Repouso which has the chapel of Nossa Senhora do Repouso built into it.

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