Ponta Delgada, a historical city
Ponta Delgada the Azores capital, balances wisely tradition with modernity and cosmopolitism with a bucolic scene as few places in the world
Even though Ponta Delgada is the administrative capital of the Autonomous Region of the Azores and, therefore, the most important city of the archipelago, it keeps the charm of an old colonial metropolis.
Set on a magnificent bay of the S. Miguel Island, Ponta Delgada’s rich history and magnificent heritage is highlighted by an imposing natural beauty marked by the blue of the Ocean ahead and the green of the fields on the back.
Starting as a gathering of fishing communities, Ponta Delgada gained significance during the 16th century, when Vila Franca do Campo, the major city of the archipelago by then, was destroyed by an earthquake in 1522.
The importance of Ponta Delgada grew particularly during the 19th century when, due to the export of citrus fruits, the fishing industry and the settlement of prosperous tradesmen, it became one of the most flourishing and influential Portuguese cities. The prosperity of that golden age is visible in the romantic and colonial architectural styles that still dominate the well-preserved urban landscape.
Walking along the narrow streets of Ponta Delgada it is obvious the perfect balance between tradition and modernity, cosmopolitanism and a bucolic way of life so typical of the Azores. Luckily the touristic development of the last decades did not affect the peace and quiet ambience that gives the Azores its indelible and distinguishable mark.
Ponta Delgada witnessed the Naval Battle of São Miguel on July 16th 1582, at the time of the 1580 Portuguese succession crisis, when an Anglo-French corsair expedition fought against a Spanish fleet in order to preserve the Portuguese control of the Azores.
Photo by The Sean & Lauren Spectacular
The magnificent Heritage of Ponta Delgada includes the amazing mother Church from the 15th century, the Costumes House, the Convents of Conceição (head of the Azores government), of Santo André, of Carmo and of Nossa Senhora da Esperança. The São Brás Fortress, also known as São Brás Castle, São Mateus Church, the former Jesuits College and the emblematic Doors of the City are another not to miss spots of the city.
Where is Ponta Delgada?
Main image credits
- Photo by jsome1