UNESCO includes Angra, in the Azorean island of Terceira, in its list of World Heritage sites. Here you can visit fine monuments that recall a golden age of history. Nine islands in the mid Atlantic form the Azores archipelago. The third one (“Terceira” in Portuguese) discovered became the most important trading post of the Modern Age. In a beautiful green bay, sheltered from the wind, the city and port of Angra do Heroísmo was born. It was here that enormous galleons were loaded with food, gold and silver from the Americas, timber and precious stones from Brazil, as well as spices from the Indies, silks from China and ivory from Africa.
The city became filled with palaces, convents and churches with interiors richly lined with exotic timbers and gold carvings.
From the top of Monte Brazil Mountain, with Angra at its feet, you can see 500 years of history in the architecture of the city. The towers of large churches stand out above the houses. Paulo da Gama, who accompanied his brother, Vasco da Gama, on the first sea voyage to India, is buried in the church of Nossa Senhora da Guia.
Before venturing down into the city, take a look around the formidable fortress of St. John the Baptist that surrounds Monte Brazil. Its walls are four kilometres long and 400 pieces of artillery defended the treasures of a once vast empire from coveting pirates.