Sé de Faro - Cathedral of Faro

Sé de Faro

The cathedral (Sé) in Faro is located in the heart of the city's small Old Town (Cidade Velha) in Largo de Sé.

The Sé was built over remnants of a Roman temple, Visigoth church and then a Moorish mosque and was completed in 1251. Except for the tower gate and two chapels, the original cathedral was damaged in the English raid of 1596, destroyed in the earthquake of 1755 and subsequently rebuilt in a hotchpotch of styles, which include Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance.

The interior of Faro's cathedral contains some beautiful azulejos tilework, marble inlay and gilded wood carvings. Visitors climb up the narrow, winding staircase to the roof for wonderful views over Faro, the Paço Episcopal (Bishop's Palace) and out to the mud flats and sea from the miradouro.

The small cathedral museum upstairs from the floor of the church contains an eclectic assortment of exhibits: statues, religious paintings, vestments and a small ossuary. Close to the Sé are the statue of Afonso III and the worthwhile Museu Municipal de Faro.
The Largo de Sé has a pleasant cafe with outdoor seating in the square to sit back and enjoy the tranquility amidst the orange trees.

The centrepiece of the Cidade Velha, the sé was completed in 1251 but heavily damaged in the 1755 earthquake. What you see now is a variety of Renaissance, Gothic and baroque features. Climb the tower for lovely views across the walled town and estuary islands. The cathedral also houses the Museu Capitular, with an assortment of chalices, priestly vestments and grisly relics (including both forearms of St Boniface), and a small 18th-century shrine built of bones.

The blocky, castle-like cathedral occupies what was probably the site of a Roman temple, then a Visigoth cathedral and then a Moorish mosque. Only the tower gate and several chapels remain of the original Romanesque-Gothic exterior – the rest was obliterated in 1755. The interior has very elaborate baroque side altarpieces, and the altar itself is flanked by matching vaulted Gothic chapels. The baroque organ is worth noting.