Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Azores: Island Of Terceira

Terceira Azores

Last week on Portugal Vacations I told you about the awe inspiring Island of Pico, the second largest island in the Azores, and possibly the most stunning. Today I will tell you a little about the Island of Terceira, Azores.

The Island of Terceira was thus named due to it being the third island to be discovered in the Azores by Portuguese explorers (The name ‘Terceira’ means 'Third' in English). As mentioned before, Sao Miguel and Pico are the largest and second largest of the Azores Islands. Terceira is also the third largest island so it is fitting that it would get the name Terceira. Terceira is approximately 29 km long and up to 18 km wide with a total area of approximately 385 km2. The closest island to Terceira is São Jorge (St. George in English) 55 km to the west.

Like the other islands of the Azores, Terceira is a beautiful green paradise in the middle of the Atlantic, but it can also be one of the noisiest depending on which part of the island you reside due to the incoming European and North American Military aircraft at the Portuguese Airbase, Lajes. The Lajes airbase was initially constructed in 1934 by Portuguese Fascist Dictator Salazar's Regime and has served as a refueling, Reconnaissance, patrolling, and support base for almost a century. Over the years, many upgrades have been made to the base, along with American Military who have used a portion of the base under lease by the Portuguese State since the WWII.

Terceira is also home to the oldest established city in the Azores, called Angra do Heroismo (Meaning 'Cove Of Heroism' or 'Heroism Cove' in English), first established in 1478. Angra do Heroismo got its name due to the bravery of the people of the island who battled invading armies and pirates from Europe and the New World. It is today on the UNESCO Heritage List. You can see the city on the image at the top of the page.

Terceira is also the bullfighting capital of the Azores, where each year centuries old traditions of running with the bulls is still practiced. Unlike the running with the bulls held in Spain, the ones in Terceira are held in an open square, making it less dramatic than the Spanish one, and the bulls are tethered to a rope to prevent them from roaming free through the city.

Hope you liked this short overview of the Island of Terceira. In the next few posts of Portugal Vacations, I will tell you more about the other islands of the Azores.


Anonymous said...

Gabriola Island, near Nanaimo, B.C. that is an ideal retreat for the work-weary or any others who need to get away from the rat race that is typical of normal city life.

Anonymous said...

Our daughter-in-law's ancestors migrated from Portugal, to the Azores, and then to Hawaii. Eventually, her family came to California where our son met her. I hope you won't mind me asking a question about wine. Not too many years ago we used to be able to get a Portuguese wine named Mateus. There was a rose and a white wine. Do you know if the winery went out of business, or where we could get it again?

Matt said...

Hi Webduck,

The Mateus brand is still available, but you may need to check with a local liquor store to check for availability in your area. You can also contact the company Sogrape (The makers of Mateus) for information. Following this link to Sogrape website:

webduck said...

Matt, thank you so much!! I will check it out. My husband loves this wine and I would love to find it for him again. Merry Christmas!

Matt said...

Hi Webduck,

Glad to help and Merry Christmas!