Azores - Escola Profissional da Praia da Vitória

Situated in the Atlantic Ocean, between North America and Europe, the archipelago
of the Azores has got the latitude of 39º 43’/ 36º 55’ N.
The nine islands have got the total surface of 2.333 km2 and an exclusive economy
zone of 984.3000 km2.
Their areas change between 747 km2 (island of S. Miguel) and 17 km2 (island of
Corvo). The Mountain of Pico has 2.351 m and is the highest point of the Azores and of
The Azores is composed of three groups of islands: Grupo Central (Terceira,
Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial), Grupo Oriental (São Miguel and Santa Maria) and
Grupo Ocidental (Flores and Corvo).
Entering the country:
The most practical way to enter the country is by plane. There are several
international airports in the Azores: Lajes, P. Delgada and Horta. There are also ports
for ships and cruisers.
Some citizens need a passport and sometimes a visa. European and Swiss citizens
only need ID cards.
Language: Portuguese
Currency: Euro
Aeroplanes connecting the islands, ships from May to October, boats connecting
Faial, Pico and São Jorge islands all year, buses, taxis and rent-a-cars.
1st January: New Year’s Day;
28th February: Carnival;
16th April: Easter Day;
14th April: Good Friday;
25th April: Revolution Day;
1st May: Labour’s Day;
10th June: Portugal Day;
15th August: Assumption of our Blessed Lady;
5th October: Republic Day;
1st November: All Saint’s Day;
1st December: Independence Day;
8th December: Our Lady’s Conception;
25th December: Christmas Day.
Temperatures vary between 23ºC in the Summer and 13ºC in the Winter. Water
temperature varies between 24ºC and 17ºC. Located in a area where no cyclones
exist, the archipelago has an temperate maritime weather, without big oscillations of
annual temperature and has nice sea temperature during all year, which is great for
water sport activities.
Diving, canoeing, sailing, swimming, volleyball, basketball, football, handball,
aerobics, kickboxing, gym, cardio fitness, athletics, golf, shooting, rappel, slide, hanggliding, water-ski and hunting.
Whale watching, walking trails, snooker, bowling, discos, pubs, night-clubs,
cinema, theatre, musical concerts and bullfights.
Swimming areas, pick-nick areas and camping.
Traditional house in the field
The presence of the Portuguese starts in 1427 with the discovery of the islands of
Santa Maria and São Miguel.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, the archipelago became, due to its geographic
position, a navigation centre between Europe, the Orient and America. At this time,
important maritime fights took place and the islands were attacked by pirates.
In the next centuries, the archipelago developed because of agriculture and of
The Azores are presently an autonomous region with a government.
The traditional flower of the islands: Hydrangea
Population: 56 000 habitants.
Location: It is located 27º 10’ W and 37º 43’ N.
It has a total area of 452 Km, length is 29 Km and width is 17.5 Km.
15th century: Known as the island of Jesus Christ, the colonisation began around
1450 by the younger prince Henrique. The first colonies are located in the areas of S.
Sebastião, Porto Judeu and Praia da Vitória. Terceira’s economy was made mainly of
agriculture (especially of cereals), exportation of pastel and dye-plants. Terceira Island
started to occupy an important role in navigation as a port for the vessels that brought
riches from America and India. During this period, the island is a market place of silver,
diamonds, gold and spices, which catch the attention of French and English pirates,
who attacked the island’s waters and coasts.
16th century: In the end of the century, when Portugal was under the domain
Spain, the island was a centre of resistance, defending the cause of D. António Prior
do Crato and it was the last Portuguese territory falling into the Spanish domain.
20th century: The construction of a port in Praia da Vitória, the existence of an
aeroplane base and an airport in Lajes brought new hope and development to the
island. In 1983, Angra do Heroísmo was declared by UNESCO a world heritage city.
Holy Spirit Festivities
These come from the mainland, which originated from German tradition.
The festivity was introduced during the 13th century by Queen Isabel and King
Dinis. In a special ceremony the King crowned the poor people.
In the Azores, the ceremony is still lively used and it is with great satisfaction that
the people still participate in such festivities.
A person is elected “mordomo” each year and has the duty to give among the poor
and to those that work with him/her some sweet bread, meat and wine. During the
festivities, the traditional soups are made of bread and fresh meat that are blessed by
the priest.
On the day of the festivity, the meat, which was given as a promise, is cooked and
is eaten with home-made bread, sweet bread and sweet rice pudding.
The Holy Spirit festivities start on Whit Sunday and go until the beginning of June.
This Singing is a rooted tradition in Terceira. It has been a part of culture and
tradition for centuries. This type of singing is made up with rimes and challenging
singing which usually involves feelings and assortments.
After Christmas, groups of people start organising musical-dance carnival plays.
These are a tradition in Terceira, although in small emigrant communities and other
Azorean islands some interest in these folk dances and plays have been shown. There
are different types of folk dances: there are “pandeireta” dances and sward dances.
The dance-plays are based on social criticism and actual events, fights or tittletattle.
Their aim is to amuse people. Every one joins up at the town hall to watch these
dances. After each play, every group of dancers go to the next town hall and play all
over again.
Other people dress up in masks trying to scare people with them, with water
balloons and water guns.
There are also children parades organised by schools and other typical events of
this time of the year, but they are not traditional.
The sorrowful tunes of Terceira folklore are made up of drums, musical triangles
and dance plays with names like “Sã-Macaio”, “Tirana” and “Sapateia”, where the
dancers repeat the traditional figures with agility. It is a challenge for singers, a way of
expressing themselves, a way of criticism and irony. The dancers and singers dress up
clogs and traditional antique dresses.
The island of Terceira is the only island of the Azores archipelago where untamed
cattle is raised.
Most people from Terceira enjoy the bullfight manifestations. It is one of the most
characteristic amusements of the year.
There are two types of bullfights: the arena bullfight and the street bullfight, where
the bull is tied by the neck with an eighty metre rope and on it there are twelve men
(“Pastores”) holding back the bull and stopping it when necessary.
There are bullfights all around the island, they start on the first of May and end in
There are the traditional bullfights; those that happen every year in the same
parish and same street, during the Saint Festivals of each locality. The parish’s people
and others join in front of the church for the event. People will run with the bull and
some try their luck by teasing the bull, others run away from the bull trying not to get
There are four bulls each fight, every fight lasts thirty minutes. During the second
and third bull, there is a thirty minute break and the rest of the intervals are fifteen
minutes. The bullfights usually start at four in the afternoon and last till nightfall.
To pay for all this ( fire works, renting bulls, permission for the bullfights, dinner for
the shepherds and other expenses), the people go around door to door asking for
The island, during time, has suffered changes due to the commerce brought by
vessels from exotic countries. Other influences also gave richness to the island’s
Holy Spirit soup, boiled food, sweet bread and “alcatra” (meat dish) and regional
wine are linked to the festivities that happen in the island in the Summer.
Fish-stew, regional sausage, octopus, crabs, limpets and seafood are also delicious.
The sweets like pies, sugar-plums and pancakes can not be forgotten.
Goat cheese and other regional cheeses, wine from Porto Martins, Pesqueiro and
Biscoitos are also a delicious compliment for a meal.
Traditional customs
Traditional house
Traditional house
Dinning room
Traditional pub
They are linked to the tradition of some saints such as Saint Anthony and Saint
John. They occur in the city of Angra do Heroísmo.
In time, they were transformed in bullfight festivities. In Sanjoaninas, you can see
an ethnographic parade with agriculture implements and old costumes. The festivities
take place during a week.
Angra do Heroísmo
Praia da Vitória Festivities:
They happen in the last week of August. There are musical concerts, an
international gastronomic fair, activities by the sea, bullfights, among others.
Praia da Vitória
his beautiful city became centre of an important commercial activity, which led to its
elevation as village in 1478 and as city in 1534 (the first city of the Azores).
It is also in this year that Pope Paul III chose Angra as diocese.
In the 16th century, Angra became a city of intensive economic life and of great
wealth. This period was reflected in the tracing of the streets, which obeyed the rules
of Renaissance urbanisation. Angra is one of the most beautiful examples of
Renaissance architecture (palaces and churches) and was recognised by UNESCO as a
world heritage city.
During the Liberalism, the city participated actively in the fights and was the head
quarters of the regency of the kingdom. Because of the spirit of sacrifice and glory
shown during the fights, the city received from Queen Mary II the title of “HEROíSMO”
(heroism), which was suggested by Almeida Garrett, a Portuguese writer.
Angra do Heroísmo, one of the administrative centres of the Autonomous Region,
suffered in 1980 and earthquake, but during the reconstruction there was the concern
of keeping the tracing of the damaged buildings.
Angra do Heroísmo at night
Praia was headquarters of the captainship of the island in the beginning of the
colonisation (1456-1474).
The village in 1640 participated in the economic prosperity of the island.
Near Praia, in 1581, the Salga battle took place and a year later the candidate to
the throne, D.António Prior do Crato was acclaimed king while landing on the beach.
The fights between liberalists and absolutists brought Praia to the pages of History.
Taking side of the liberalists, the village resists heroically and from this comes the
name “Praia da Vitória” (victory).
The village’s economic importance and growth, despite the 1841 earthquake that
destroyed Praia, led to its elevation as city in 1981.
Praia da Vitória at night.
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