Ostatnia aktualizacja: 2020-04-22. Autor: Milena
Angra do Heroísmo is the capital of Terceira. Calm, charming, full of treasures to discover. Its historical center is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
If you were on Terceira, you were certainly walking around enchanted by the streets of Angra do Heroísmo. If you haven’t been – everything ahead of you! But before you get here, you can enjoy pictures of Angra. You can find them, for example, on Facebook and Instagram.
In Angra you can feel as if we traveled back in time. Terceira was discovered and inhabited in the second half of the 15th century, and some buildings in Angra remember the early 16th century! So the first explorers or their children could walk on their corridors!
Angra do Heroísmo on the UNESCO World Heritage List
Angra do Heroísmo was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983. The basis was two cultural criteria:
• IV – the place has to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
• VI – the place has to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);
When we look around Angra, we will see that history is present at every step here.
Angra do Heroísmo is the first settlement in the Azores that received city rights. FIt’s been considered a city since 1534. In the same year, it became the seat of the diocese, which also affected its development. From the 16th to the 19th century it was the most important port of call in the Atlantic. Mostly for fleets sailing to and from India, but other ships crossing the Atlantic also stopped here.
The ships were full of treasures from India and the Western world: gold, silver, oriental spices. They became the target of pirate attacks. Angry Bay, sheltered by the Monte Brasil peninsula, was a great haven. Two fortresses protected the island from external attacks: the São João Baptista fortress located by Monte Brazil and the fort São Sebastião (known as Castelinho) in Porto de Pipas („port of barrels”).
Angra was developing, which was reflected in its architecture. The Sé cathedral, the Customs Office building, the church of Misericórdia (Mercy), the Franciscan convent – these are just some of the many monuments that confirm the importance of the capital of Terceira at that time.
Angra do Heroísmo was also wisely built
Angra is not only full of unusual monuments, but also very wisely built. When the first explorers reached Terceira, they saw the island with a large peninsula adjacent to its southern coast. The peninsula formed two bays and provided natural protection against wind and strong ocean waves. It is no wonder that they decided to settle there.
The city grid is slightly skewed, comparing to the traditional buildings of those times. The first settlers built it, taking into account local winds, which indicates their great adaptation to the existing geographical conditions.
Angra do Heroísmo has already survived the earthquake, may it survive also the following years
On January 1, 1980, Terceira was hit by an earthquake of strength 7.2 on the Richter scale. Half of Angra was literally in ruins. However, most of the buildings were reconstructed according to their original plans. That is why today we can admire the unchanged shape of the historical center of the capital of Terceira.
For those who have a house in the historical part of Angry, renovation work can be a trouble. You need to get a pile of permits, you need to keep the original facade, you need to remember about specific construction techniques. But when I walk the streets of Angry, I am grateful to the residents for their effort. It’s just beautiful here. Let it stay that way!