"Angra”, a contrast between its’ renaissance heritage and modern construction is remembered for the great historical deeds of its’ people as defenders of liberty.
The architecture is testimony to the kings and noblemen who have at one time or another contributed to the landscape of the city. This is demonstrated through the 15th - 16th century city plan and the 17th and 18th century architecture found here. A large portion of Angra’s historical centre has been classified Public Interest, and is included in the UNESCO list of World Patrimony.
The 17th century architecture is evident in many structures, the front of which are replete in artistically carved stone. The artistic wooden and iron balconies are also representative of the period. In 1980 a violent earthquake damaged much of the architectonic patrimony of the city. The subsequent restorations and recuperation are a credit to the people and institutions that made them possible. Of special interest are:
The “Sé” Cathedral, mother church of the Azores, is an impressing structure built at the end of the 16th century using the style of a 15th century gothic church.
The “Capitães-Generais” Palace, is the former Jesuit College that has been transformed into the residence of the Captain-Generals of the Azores;
- The São Sebastião Fort, a construction of Italian design built during the 16th century on the east side of Angra’s port;
The São João Baptista do Monte Brasil Fort, is a large, fortified wall 4 km long. It was built during the Spanish era and named São Filipe (after the current King of Spain, Fillip). Continuously modified up until and including the period of World War II, it gained fame as the place where famous figures such as “Gungunhana” and “Dom Afonso VI” were imprisoned;
The Solar de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios or da Família Canto is the old residence of the Navy Purveyor (16th-17th Century). It is an imposing manor which holds the largest private chapel in the Archipelago;
- The Angra do Heroísmo Museum, is located in the old Convent of St. Francis and is adjoined to the “Nossa Senhora da Guia” Church (Our Lady of Guidance). This is the church in which Paulo da Gama, Vasco da Gama’s brother was buried after his death on the return from their first journey to India in 1499
The “Nossa Senhora da Conceição”, “São Gonçalo” and “Misericórdia” Churches, are all interesting structures from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries;
and The “Paços do Concelho” (City Hall), a majestic construction of the 19th century, and the Manors “Corte-Reais, Bettencourts, dos Sieuve de Menezes, da Madre de Deus” are important examples of the rich patrimony of Angra.
- Angra has one of the best Public Libraries and Archives in the country which also retains some important private art collections. Especially worthy of mention are the “Francisco Ernesto de Oliveira Martins” religious sculptures in wood and ivory
In Angra, the region’s cultural centre, many institutions are found here including the Azorean Cultural Institute, and the Historical Institute of the Island of Terceira. The head office for the Festival of Music of the Azores is also located here as is the Regional Conservatory of Music. Higher education centres include the agricultural science course of the University of the Azores in “Pólo da Terra Chã”, CIFOP, which offers courses for day care instructors, the Nursing School of Angra do Heroísmo and the Seminary.
There are two theatre groups, the “Alpendre” and “Outro Teatro” whose fame has transcended the island limits. In Angra during the Carnival, the largest theatre festival in the country takes place, with a performance of the Carnival Dances by about 50 different groups.
The “Alto da Memória”, obelisk which commemorates the presence of Dom Pedro IV in Angra, offers an excellent view over the city. “Monte Brasil” incorporates a fantastic view with its recreational area and resting place. (Monte Brasil is classified as Protected Landscape). The Municipal garden is another pleasant area for relaxation in Angra.