Whilst much of the cathedral you see today date back to the 13th and 14th centuries this site has considerably more history. The oldest records show that there was a Roman forum built here around two thousand years ago. Following this a mosque was built here. With the Christian reconquest of Faro in 1249 the mosque was torn down and the Sé (cathedral) put up in its place. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary the cathedral is also known as the Igreja de Santa Maria de Faro.
The cathedral was considerably extended in the 15th century as the population of Faro increased, although the main doorway, Gothic tower and two chapels are all from the original building.
In 1596 the interior of the cathedral was destroyed by fire when British troops lead by the Earl of Essex ransacked the town. Over the years the interior was replaced and now consists of some fine 17th and 18th century tiling and gold leaf gilding.In 1755 the cathedral was damaged again, this time due to the devastating earthquake that shook all of Portugal.
Faro Sé is open to the public most days and visitors can climb the steps of the tower to get a great view out over the city.