Angra do Heroismo along with the Tower of Belem and Monastery of Hieronymites in Lisbon and Goa in India; are some of the most symbolic monuments of the Portuguese exploratory exploits. It is through these explorations that word’s different civilizations interacted with each other.
The port of Angra is set in mid-Atlantic and was the obligated port of call for Portuguese ships that sailed from Africa and Indies. It is an outstanding example of the linked maritime world.
Among the links created through Angra do Heroismo include great civilizations in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas. The port owes its fame to Vasco De Gama who in 1499 set an obligatory port of call for the fleets of Equatorial Africa and those of East and West Indies. The same feat would be repeated in 1536 by Pedro de Alvarado.
You have to respect the genius of the first navigators. They chose a site that was protected from the prevailing winds by a series of hills. The port features 2 natural basins – the Beacon basin and the Anchorage Basin from which the village took its name.
An elaborate defense system was built including the large impregnable fortress of Sao Sebastiao and Sao Joao Baptista. The port city was developed using a checkerboard plan, although with slight alterations to account for the prevailing winds
Historians reckon that Angra do Heroism is the best example of adaptation of urban model to the prevailing climatic conditions. The navigators and cartographers seems to have had their way in the way the city was laid out. It got the city status in 1534 and in the same year that it became the seat of the Archbishop of Azores.
The city’s status as the seat of the Roman Catholic Church in Azores assisted it to develop the monumental character that has made the city a famous tourist destination. Angra is a lesson in preservation of historic architecture. Even after the 1980 earthquake, the city retained its homogenous monumental heritage that is characterized by its original vernacular style. Get here and start your journey in learning the Portuguese history.