The time has passed.
With it, the life of the yellow-brown of the obelisk at Alto da Memória was gone. Aware of the importance of the place and the monument, for Angra do Heroísmo and for Portugal, the authorities remember to restore its shine.
When we reach the top of the lawn, five painters, armed with stairs, repeat careful brushstrokes.
Embossed lines and edges abound so the job requires both skill and patience.
To the north and inland of the island, the sky provided a dense white background.
In the opposite direction, over the sheltered cove to the south, the city rejected the cloudiness. It was warming under the successive streaks of the still vigorous September sun.
The walled threshold of the hill offers us a view of the houses of Angra, from that angle, above all clay roofs, as Portuguese as possible. Not only.
Just below it was a vegetable garden dotted with palm trees, with a hint of tropical that the adjoining Jardim Duque da Terceira was thickening.
To the east and west, surrounding this luxuriant Eden, two magnificent houses of God appeared, the façade and the twin towers of the church of Nossa Senhora de Carmo in a duel of secular architectural reverence with those of Nossa Senhora da Guia.
Other churches, other towers, numerous manor houses, palaces, palatial buildings and rows of buildings are repeated up to the Gaspar Corte-Real and Pêro de Barcelos roads, to Prainha and Marina d'Angra, now over the Atlantic.
They form a harmonious city, the result of half a millennium of orthogonal planning, more than that, resplendent with a prosperity and ostentation that clerical omnipresence has contributed to uniform.
Today, here and there, enriched with works of street art that leave no one indifferent.
The Foundation and Exemplary Urbanization of Angra do Heroísmo
Since at least 1474, the settlers of the metropolis strive to improve their refuge in the North Atlantic.
Álvaro Martins Homem and João Vaz Corte-Real, the first Donatorial Captains of Angra, took great care and set an example. After four years, Angra became the village. Sixty years later, it became the first town in the Azores to rise to the city.
The vigor of local Christianity followed that of urbanism. In that same year of 1534, Pope Paul III issued the bull aequum reputamus and decreed the Diocese of Angra, with religious jurisdiction over the other Azorean islands. Thus, one can better understand the profusion of churches, cathedrals, Empires of the Divine, chapels and the like.
The devotion that the people of the city and the Terceira island they preserve for God and that, as a result of the Azorean diaspora, they contributed to globalizing.
The Deserved World Heritage City Statute
After twenty minutes of contemplation and wonder, we descend to the seaside of the Angrense land, to the elegant streets of the historic center which, accordingly, UNESCO declared, in 1983, World Heritage.
We walk around the Palácio dos Capitães Generales, which the Jesuits built as a College with a Study Courtyard, but which, in 1776, shortly after the expulsion of the order from Iberia, the first Captain-General of the Azores, D. Antão de Almada, appeased and adjusted for administrative and military purposes.
It would serve as the Royal Palace, on two separate occasions.
From Paço to Paço, we descend to the ones in the Municipality, overlooking Praça Velha and the standardized black and white pavement, which there is made of human chess.
In a movement characteristic of a queen, we proceed down Rua Direita, in search of another emblematic church in Angra, Misericórdia, the city's overcrowded Marina and its favorite bathing bay, Prainha.
Basílio Simões Store: Picturesque Legacy of the Commercial History of Angra do Heroísmo
Along the way, we noticed the facade of the Basílio Simões store, listed online as a supermarket, but in which we identified a mix of guild and grocery store.
The interior, organic, made of wood, glass shelves, cardboard boxes serving as additional displays.
A display of planting seeds, tools, linoleum, feed, fertilizer and related field products forms a profitable assortment.
Right next door, the business justifies a kind of antique office, equipped with an old safe, shelves, desks and chairs, each piece more ancient and well preserved than the next, like most of the owners and employees of the family business.
The strong commercial tradition of Angra do Heroísmo dates back a long time. It's at the base of your bonanza.
Angra do Heroísmo: the last stopover in the India and Hispanic Route of the Americas
Closer and simpler exchanges aside, Angra was the ultimate stop of the Indian Career. It welcomed, repaired and supplied ships that departed from the west coast of africa to be made around the Sea and, at the same time, to avoid the attacks of the Moorish pirates, later, of the rival European nations.
With the advent of the Philippine Dynasty, the Portuguese ships were joined by the Spanish galleons, coming from Cartagena de Indias quality Puerto Rico, full of gold, silver and many other treasures taken from the Americas.
All this maritime traffic and the wealth that sailed with it even justified the creation of a dedicated institution, the Armed Office, complemented by naval shipyards and the various fortresses and fortifications that continue to defend the city.
One of these shipyards occupied the area of the current Prainha, today, a kind of rounded marine swimming pool in which residents and outsiders bathe and delight, which they use and on the walls above as an outdoor gym – provided that capricious weather allows it – delivered to naked torso exercises.
Monte Brasil: an Extinct and Hyperfortified Volcano
From Prainha, we head for what would have been the most important fortification in Angra, detached into the Atlantic on the Monte Brasil promontory, in a favorable position for attacking the attacking ships with artillery.
At the top of this extinct volcano, we have a perspective on the city opposite to Alto da Memória. We also find the Fortress of São João Baptista (Castelo de São Filipe), the Fort of São Sebastião and other walls and bastions.
They were erected and reinforced by the Spaniards, fed up with pirates and privateers, aware that, by themselves, the blessings of the Ermida de Santo António and Igreja da Misericórdia would not exorcise such demons.
A red, blue, gold coat of arms of Portugal, detached from the façade of the Igreja da Misericórdia, sparkles with patriotism.
It is just one of the countless elements of Portuguese nationality disseminated by Angra, symbols of loyalty to the Crown and, later, to the Republic that history was responsible for recording.
The Spaniards raised their strengths.
They used Angra do Heroísmo and Terceira, but only as far and when they could. Once the ideal context arrived, the Angrense continued to support the Prior of Crato who, from 1580 to 1582, had settled there and to his provisional government.
Angra's Contribution to the Restoration of Independence and the Liberal Triumph of 1834
From March 16, 1642, they rebelled, triumphed over the Castilians and expelled them from the island. The abnegation and sacrifice of the Angrenses caused D. João IV to grant Angra the title of “Very Noble and Loyal City".
Once independence was restored, Portuguese history quickly put the city to the test again.
Between 1828 and 1834, the Liberal Wars took over the metropolis. Angra assumed the logistical fulcrum of the Liberal Forces and hosted the Provisional Board, on behalf of Queen Maria II. From the capital of the Azores, it was promoted to the capital of the Kingdom.
In the meantime, D. Pedro IV took the Azores. made of Terceira island its headquarters and there prepared a naval and military force to the height of the conflict.
From Angra he sailed to the north of Portugal.
On the 8th of July 1832, he carried out the Landing of Mindelo from where he reorganized to take Porto and, having surpassed the Cerco dos Miguelists, the rest of the country, after sailing to the Algarves and, from the Algarves towards Lisbon, in such an unusual plan and guarded by an English fleet that the Miguelistas were never able to stop it.
In this place on Praia dos Ladrões, where the Liberals landed, the memorial to the victims of the Civil War, in the shape of an obelisk, still stands today. With an unworthy name for its importance, the northern beach was renamed Praia da Memória.
Since then, Portuguese identity and nationality have continued to twitch. Portugal went from monarchy to republic, from dictatorship to democracy.
Whatever the next meanders, the Angrenses will always and forever celebrate their protagonism.
Between 1845 and 1856, they erected the so-called “mirror” obelisk at Alto da Memória. When we got back there at the end of the day, they continued to paint and revive the illustrious history of Angra do Heroísmo.