Angra do Heroísmo on Terceira (World Heritage)

Angra do Heroísmo is located on the Azores island of Terceira. As a hub on the transatlantic sea route to the New World and an important supply port, the city held a key position for over 300 years. Numerous Renaissance buildings, churches, baroque palaces as well as the Castelo São João Batista, the largest fortress in Portugal, are still reminiscent of the city’s heyday. See toppharmacyschools for more information about Portugal.

Angra do Heroísmo in Terceira: facts

Official title: City center of Angra do Heroísmo on the Azores island of Terceira
Cultural monument: “Little Lisbon”, among others. with the Sé Episcopal Cathedral (Savior Cathedral), the Baroque Jesuit Church, the Gothic Church of São Sebastião, the Castelo São João Baptista, the largest fortress in Portugal, and the Castelo São Sebastião, both unique examples of 400-year-old military architecture
Continent: Europe
Country: Portugal, Azores
Location: Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira
Appointment: 1983
Meaning: between the 15th and 19th centuries the most important seaport on the transatlantic sea route

Angra do Heroísmo in Terceira: history

1499 The Vasco da Gama caravel landed after the sea route to India was discovered
1534 City rights
1557-78 Construction of the Castelo São Sebastião
around 1570 Construction of the Savior Cathedral
1614 earthquake
1641 After an 11-month siege, the Spaniards withdraw from the Castelo São João Baptista
1728-46 Construction of the baroque church of Misericórdia
after the civil war 1832-34 honored by Queen Maria II with the title “Hero City”
1932-68 during the fascist Salazar dictatorship in the Castelo São João Baptista prison for political prisoners
New Years Day 1980 Earthquake and Destruction of Angra
1983 Fire in the tower of the cathedral

Window to the Atlantic

On New Year’s Day 1980 the earth shook. Within a few seconds, Angra do Heroísmo turned into a field of ruins – the shocks reached grade 8 on the Mercalli scale. The result was staggering: almost the entire city was in ruins. In no time at all, the Angrenses rebuilt their city true to the original, an act of Hercules, even if many wounds have not yet been removed.

Angra is a small town on the Portuguese island of Terceira, one of the nine islands of the Azorean archipelago, which was discovered by the Portuguese in 1427 – a volcanic blob in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, completely insignificant if it weren’t halfway between Europe and America.

The geostrategically favorable position, the protected natural harbor, winds and currents made Angra a coveted base and flourishing port. Up until the age of the steamships, all the galleons sailing from the New World to Europe headed for the bay of Angra do Heroísmo, laden with precious spices, the treasures of the Mayas and Incas. The sailors supplied themselves with provisions, exchanged the sails, repaired leaks and cured their ailments in the hospital. The sheltered harbor was an ideal refuge when fleeing from pirates.

If you visualize the urban blueprint in the streets of Angra, you can quickly see its clear structure. The first settlers laid out the streets and houses in the shape of a Y, following the rural tradition of the Middle Ages. A radial street network was created around the central market square, which can still be seen in the eastern part of the city. A good seven decades later, the Angrenses threw the usual models overboard and began to orientate themselves on the new task of Angras as a link and service center between the colonies and the mother country.

Following the Florentine model, they based the city layout on the checkerboard pattern, which was highly modern for the time. In the vicinity of the port, well-arranged quarters with stores for grain, fresh water and stockfish, large bakeries, workshops for carpenters, coopers and box makers were created. Companies for ship repairs and companies for food production developed. Angra became the forerunner of today’s »catering«.

The importance of Angra was demonstrated by the Spaniards who built the gigantic São João Baptista fortress during their rule over Portugal in the 16th and 17th centuries to protect the bay from all sides. The parapet walkways stretch over three kilometers around Monte Brasil like a Chinese wall. At times, a thousand soldiers were stationed in the bastion. Hundreds of cannons received the enemy coming across the ocean. The fortress of São Sebastião occupied the hill opposite, so that Angra could crossfire an enemy armada from two sides.

A closed Renaissance ensemble spreads out in the protected space between the two fortresses. The heyday of Angras can be seen on the facades of the churches and stately townhouses. Galleries of lattice windows are lined up, decorated with wrought-iron or wooden balcony grilles in a paper-cut pattern. Dark volcanic stone is like a sash around windows and doors, house corners and plinths. Clay-colored tubular bricks cover the houses like a honeycomb – a cityscape simple but expressive.

The landmark of Angra do Heroísmo is the Sé Cathedral with the distinctive blue and white checkered pattern on its two towers, which were badly damaged by earthquakes and arson. The majestic convent of the Jesuits leaves no doubt about their political influence, into which secular power came after the expulsion of the powerful friars from Portugal: the magnificent yellow and white building became the residence of the captains general. In the church of the former Poor Clare Convent of São Gonçalo, the blue and white azulejo jewelry and the gilded wood carving point to the former heyday. Only the repaired plaster casts left white in the gold are a reminder of “troubled times”.

Angra do Heroísmo on Terceira (World Heritage)