Ilha de São Jorge
guide to visit
Velas is probably the most ancient locality in São Jorge Island, keeping even nowadays visible its peaceful rural feature, inheritance of other times, that delights all visitors.
On a rural and fishing ambiance, Velas offers a proud architectonic heritage, with monuments such as the São Jorge church, also known as Velas Mother Church, dated from the 17th century, the Nossa Senhora da Conceição das Velas Fort, built in 1644, the Nossa Senhora do Pilar Fort, or the lovely Portão do Mar, which was integrant part of the defensive walls of the village, working as a Gate (“Portão“) to access the sea (“mar”), built in between 1797 and 1799. Also quite interesting is the Religious Art Museum located on the Mother Church, with rich liturgical and religious pieces.
A walk in the peaceful picturesque streets of Velas is always a pleasure, passing through the Republic Square Garden dated from 1719, or the ancient Market Square, nowadays named as João Inácio de Sousa Square, where one can admire the Santa Casa da Misericórdia Fraternity.
All the natural surrounding reveals the amazing beauty of São Jorge Island, known for its “Fajãs” (plain terrains with a small extension, situated on the seaside, formed by materials from the cliffs or from the ocean’s and wind erosion of the rocks, usually housing small typical localities with a strong fishing tradition), which allow wonderful typical panoramas.
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