Faro is a municipality and bishopric, southernmost city and seat of the district of the same name, in the Algarve region of southern Portugal. With a population of 64,560 inhabitants in 2011 (with 50,000 inhabitants in the city proper), the municipality covers an area of approximately 202.57km2.HistoryThe Ria Formosa lagoon attracted humans from the Palaeolithic age until the end of pre-history. The first settlements date from the 4th century BC, during the period of Phoenician colonization of the western Mediterranean. At the time, the area was known as Ossonoba, and was the most important urban centre of southern Portugal and commercial port for agricultural products, fish and minerals.Between the 2nd and 8th century, the city was under the domain of the Romans, then the Byzantines and later Visigoths, before being conquered by the Moors in 713. From the 3rd century onwards and during the Visigothic period, it was the site of an Episcopal see, the Ancient Diocese of Ossoba (306-688). The Byzantine presence has endured in the city walls' towers that were built during the Byzantine period.With the advent of Moorish rule in the 8th century, Ossonoba retained its status as the most important town in the southwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula. In the 9th century it became the capital of a short-lived princedom and was fortified with a ring of defensive walls. At this time, in the 10th century, the name Santa Maria (Shantamariyyat al-Gharb in Arabic) began to be used instead of Ossonoba. By the 11th century the town was known as Santa Maria Ibn Harun.