The Azores — A Paradise In the Midle of The Atlantic Ocean
The Azores islands is an autonomous region of Portugal. Located in the middle of Atlantic between New York and Lisbon. It consists of nine veritable island and several small uninhabited islands. There are three island groups — Eastern group closest to Europe, includes the islands of Sao Miguel (the largest of which is the capital — Ponta Delgada) and Santa Maria; Central — the islands of Terceira, Grasso a Sao Georges Pico and Fayal; and Western, farthest from Portugal with the Floreana island and Corvo. All are of volcanic origins, such as volcanic activity has not completely subsided and is used for the extraction of geothermal energy. Highly seismic area.
The whole area of the archipelago is 2335 square kilometers. Its geographical position between Europe and North America makes it strategically. Not surprisingly, there are arranged North American air bases of two islands. Residents themselves call Azores archipelago “door between two worlds.” Its opening was made by Portuguese sailors in the first stage of maritime expansion, successively, between 1431 and 1464 was baptized in the name of raptors, which at that time existed on the islands and which now decorate the coat of arms. The resettlement began immediately not only Portuguese who came mainly from the southern provinces of Algarve and Alentejo, but there is evidence and moved there Flemings. The whole history of the archipelago is marked by extremely strong migration, especially emigration — the US and Brazil, where colonies of the Azores are truly remarkable. At present, the population is about 250 000 people, and the trend is rising. For example and as a curiosity, in the words of the professor of history of the Azores, in recent years the population of Corvo (farthest from mainland Portugal) has increased from 200 to 340 people, but not because of high birth rates, but because gradual emigration is begun to decline.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS. NATURE. PEOPLE. ARCHITECTURE
“All clear! Amazingly clean! And it is an incredible combination of elements unimaginable! “That was the first message sent to his home from the Azores, where this summer I had the pleasure to spend some time.
Indeed, for those who love and appreciate nature, the archipelago offers breathtaking views. Amid endless ocean stand pointy green mountains that seem to have just popped up from the depths in the urge to touch the sky in the foreground of luck it is possible to see the play dolphins, while even luckier — sperm whales and whales, on the slopes of the mountain comes idyllic grazing cows, and in the deep craters of dormant volcanoes have wonderful crystal lakes. Everywhere run clear streams and abundant mineral springs, the water of each is different taste depending on the different mineral content. The colors are clear. Blue is blue in all its shades, green — deep and crisp, white is sparkling white and black — anthracite, more precisely, basalt black. And it is dotted with the bright colors of many flowers. Even before the fences between the houses and fields are hedges of flowers — Chinese roses and hydrangeas in all colors.
Thanks to the mild climate, the vegetation is lush and varied — a real fairy garden. Mediterranean pines, plane trees, linden trees, laurel and cedar trees, magnolias, acacias, palms, tree ferns … grown bananas, oranges, figs. There are large plantations of pineapples exported abroad. Has developed viticulture and winemaking. But what made me most impressed even the landing is that local really try to keep this island ecosystem. The first question I asked customs officers at the airport was: “Do you have anything to declare? Bring something illicit — weapons or seeds? “At first it puzzled me, even amused, but then when immersed in this nature reserve, I realized how many are right to be wary of the introduction of new plant species.
Otherwise, people are very benevolent, friendly and helpful. Many times I had to ask someone passerby seller, innkeeper of the institution or anyone to guide me, cheerfully explained to me, even, stranding work to take me personally to the place that interests me. And of course always curiously tied conversation. And as for me, it was exotic to be there, so exotic for them was to meet “in their end” a clean Bulgarian who knows Portuguese. Not to mention other, I met his work — fellow professors from the university, artist Tomas Vieira Exalting December KENT — a relative of the great Portuguese poet Antero December Kent, translators, journalists … They always repeated: “Command Bulgaria! My home is your home! “Hospitable. Something very warm and human is stored in these people.
Something very comfortable there and
stored in cities and villages. Small streets with neat colorful houses on both sides, be sure to a zule zho panel of the door, which is the image of the saint who keeps this house, and necessarily with a grandparent who peeks out the window and sees who goes down the street; nice little pub with amazing culinary delights — fish and meat (including dishes deep into the earth in small craters with fever) and cute little cafe with stunning variety of freshly baked pastries and unchanging local alcoholic specialties — passion fruit liqueurs or coffee; fairy shaped squares; forts and churches, many old churches in baroque style — dazzling white with contrasting black trim and columns of basalt. And speaking of contrasts, we should mention a large number of new cars, luxury yachts, modern hotels and expensive construction, which boils over. The latter is as constructive as it is disturbing to proponents of local color.
When the whaling activity has not been prohibited, it was the main means of livelihood of the Azores inhabitants. Whale oil, as is known, is the particularly valuable product. Now the memory of these past days has been selling souvenirs of baleen, literature and folk traditions.
Nowadays, although it’s an island territory is the main occupation of the land — farming and cattle in particular. Accordingly, there is a huge variety of cheeses and other dairy products. They have highly developed crafts. Depending on the island — ceramics (Sao Miguel) embroidery and lace (Sao Miguel, Terceira, Pico and Fayal), souvenirs from inside the cob or stem of hydrangea flowers of flakes of fish, furniture, cane, hand woven blankets and scarves, as well as such typical of some of the islands female mantles with hoods.
As for the traditions and holidays of the Azores people, they are the strongly religious character. On the island of Sao Miguel stands out the celebration of Isus Hristos Miracle, which takes place on the fifth Sunday after Easter. The culmination of the festival is a process that carries the figure of Christ on a stretcher with flowers. The streets are also decorated with flowers, and the windows and balconies.
But the biggest festival which is celebrated on all the islands is the Holy Spirit. It is believed that Saint Isabel was crowned Holy Spirit and proclaimed himself emperor of the world. Therefore, the symbol of these celebrations is the crown, which is connected to the cult. For seven weeks (June to July), the crown stays in seven houses. The owners of the house in which the crown should always be willing to accept people who want to pray before it. At the end of the week their coronation liturgy and held to allow the Holy Spirit to descend into crowned. Crowning is chosen by the family, in which the crown. Finally, there is always a procession to the church. There have been red flags with church and dove crown. Crowns and church flags are displayed in the municipality that great joy of all organized and universal feast outdoors with beef soup, homemade bread, wine, cake and rice pudding. All are on the street, amused and pleased. A huge luck this year held the traditional procession of bullock carts. Luckily, because I was told that a number of reasons not conducted by twenty years. Each municipality presented his oxcart, richly decorated with colorful garlands and flowers. Folk songs and dances, hydrangeas, wine, and orangeade. For everyone. Plenty of.
AND A FEW WORDS FOR FINAL
For completeness to everything described above it is necessary to add that the islands have stunning beaches, spas, golf courses for climbers — challenging routes and for divers underwater caves and the colorful underwater world …
Somehow optimistic to know that these havens are still a reality.