The São João Baptista Fortress, also known as Castle, is one of the highlights of the wonderful town of Angra do Heroísmo, World Heritage by UNESCO, the capital of the amazing Terceira Island, on the Azores Archipelago.
This military monument of big dimensions is located on the Brasil Mount, an ancient extinct volcano that forms a small peninsula on the south coast of the town, and two lovely bays (Angra and Fanal). The Fortress would have been part of a set of fortifications built for the protection of the rich Angra do Heroísmo coast.
Built over the Spanish occupancy of the territory (1580-1640) the forts were built in order to protect the coast from the aggressive Pirate attacks and also for the Spanish troops barracks.
Angra do Heroísmo was by then a very important town for the international trading, as it was situated in a strategic point in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and provided a very good port.
The construction of the Fortress began in 1593, and here were lodged the Spanish troops for eleven months when the Portuguese Restoration happened.
Already in the 20th century, during the Dictatorship period, the Fortress was used as a Political Prison.
The São João Baptista Fortress has a defensive wall area of about 4 km long, surrounding the Brasil Mount, housing in its interior the São João Baptista Church, the Santa Catarina Chapel and the Governor Palace , and is even considered to be the biggest fortress built by Spain in the world.