Angra was the first settlement in the Azores to be granted city status in 1534, gaining the honorary suffix ‘de Heroismo’ following the battle of Praia da Vitoria on 11th August 1829 (a key moment in the Portuguese civil war). Tours normally begin at the miradouro Adro Santo overlooking Angra’s Marina and the extinct Monte Brasil volcano. The families of fisherman and sailors would come to this high vantage point to pray for the safe return of their husbands and fathers – at the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem which once stood on this spot.
Your next stop is Solar do Provedor das Armadas – the House of the Ombudsman of the Armed Forces. The original building was constructed in the 16th Century during the city’s ‘golden era’, when Angra played a key role in trade between Portugal and her Indian colonies. The Ombudsman protected fleets sailing the Carreira da India – the sea-route from Lisbon, via the Cape of Good Hope, to Goa on India’s eastern coast.
The westerly winds of the North Atlantic would bring the fleets into Angra, where they would restock their supplies before completing the final stage of their journey home to mainland Portugal.A constant stream of traders saw the city blossom economically, culturally and architecturally. A happy by-product of the influx of trade was the introduction of spices – perhaps most prominently cinnamon, which the islanders happily adopted into their existing Azorean dishes. Our handy online guide will help you sample the best cuisine in Angra.
Next, you’ll head into the Jardim Duque da Terceira – Angra’s botanical garden: a collection of tropical and subtropical plant species which, like the cinnamon, were first brought to the islands during that golden era of trade. The gardens are also home to the Alto da Memoria – an obelisk erected in memory of Dom Pedro IV. Known as ‘The Liberator’, Pedro supported his daughter Queen Maria during the civil war. Terceira was his initial base in 1832, where he formed a government-in-opposition to his brother Miguel’s regime, before marching on Lisbon to bring an end to the civil war (in 1834). The Alto da Memoria memorial is constructed from the stones Pedro first stepped upon when he alighted from his boat on Angra’s quayside.
Your final stop on the tour is the Se Catherdral ; the largest religious building in the Azores. Although the cathedral was originally built in the early 16th Century, major reconstruction was necessary following the New Year’s Day earthquake in 1980. The city suffered considerable damage with over 5000 buildings and homes destroyed. Building repairs were completed by the end of 1983, and the centre of the city was awarded its historic UNESCO protected status.
If you’d like to learn more about the history of Terceira, I’d recommend a visit to the Museu de Angra do Herosimo which houses the Azores’ most extensive collection of 18th and 19th Century art, ceramics, traditional costumes and musical instruments. The ‘Do Mar e da Terra’ exhibition charts the history of the Azores from their settlement in the 15th Century up to the revolution in 1974. Opening hours are 10:00 to 17:30 and the museum is closed on Mondays.
We specialise in tailor-made holidays to the nine islands of the Azores. Our experienced team of specialists are ready to put together your personalised trip; just give them a call on 017687 721020.
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