The Island of são Miguel
San Miguel (port. São Miguel ) is the largest island of the archipelago in the territory and the population. Included in the Eastern group, together with the island of Santa Maria. San Miguel is also called the “green island” because of the beautiful green landscape.
The island 746,82 km2. A population of 140 thousand people. The island has a long shape and stretches from West to East, is 64 km in length and from 8 to 14 km in width.
San Miguel is a volcanic island consisting of two volcanic massifs separated by a Central ridge of small height. The highest point of the island is the mountain Pico da Vara (1103 m). On the island in a huge volcanic crater is located the beautiful lake of Lagoa do Fogo or “lake of Fire”. 5 km away there is another lake Lagoa do the Congres. In the Western part of the island is the beautiful double lake Lagoa das Sete-Cidades, and in the South-East of it is lake Santiago.
The pride of the islanders — the nature Park Terra Nostra with a large variety of trees and flowers, nestled on 12 acres of land. Upon arrival at the Furnas You will find a real Paradise. Here is the lake of Furnas, famous for its romantic atmosphere, but also hot springs, which turned it coast natural in the kitchen. Baking food in the pots right in the ground — a wonderful tradition, giving You the opportunity to enjoy delicious dishes of meat and vegetables and braised fish. Hot geysers, thermal baths, therapeutic mud and numerous sources of mineral water of different chemical composition and temperature have made the city Furnas richest hydrological region of Europe.
Beaches «Prainha» «Agua d’Alto» — the perfect place to relax on the way to «Vila Franca do Campo»- the ancient capital of the island and one of the most visited places in the Azores archipelago.
The administrative structure of the island
The administrative centre, largest city and the largest port of the island — city of Ponta Delgada, with a population of about 50 thousand people.
The second largest city after the capital Ribeira Grande (Ribeira Grande), located a 20-minute drive from Ponta Delgada. Here is a very beautiful historical centre and beautiful beaches, with excellent surfing conditions. In addition, this is the most convenient point for trips to the lake Lagoa do Fogo.
The town of Furnas is astonishing for its main square, which is a volcanic crater.
In North-Eastern San Miguel is a small town of Nordeste, near «Pico da Vara».
San Miguel in the archipelago was discovered by the second. Opened it Diogo Silves during his voyage to the island Madeira in 1427.
The first settlement in Sao Miguel was created in 1444 after Prince Henry the Navigator ordered to deliver to the island cattle. The first inhabitants were from the Portuguese provinces of Estremadura, Upper Alentejo and Algarve, were later joined by madeirans, Jews, Moors and possibly Frenchmen.
The fertility of the soil and the geographical position of the island at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and America contributed to rapid economic growth.
San Miguel was frequently attacked by the pirates, and in 1582 was occupied by Spain. However, with the restoration of independence of Portugal in 1640, the island regained its position as the largest trading centre of the archipelago.
Now the island is the largest political and administrative centre of the Azores archipelago.
The main sector of economic activities San-Miguel — manufacture of dairy products, cereals, tea, fruit and wine. Also developed are cattle breeding and fishing.
However, the largest source of revenue for the island is tourism.
The main employer in San Miguel is the government — about 55% percent of the labor force employed in the sector. In the private sector is dominated by a few companies, such as SATA (the airline) and Grupo Bensaude (shipping, tourism).
In addition the island has the production of wheat, sugarcane, «Wajda», sweet potatoes, maize, flax and oranges. The export of oranges to England brought são Miguel high level of prosperity in the second half of the 18th century.
The airport of the island of são Miguel, 2 km from Ponta Delgada, provides daily flights to Europe via Lisbon, along with inter-island links, and weekly flights to Canada and the USA.
Terra Nostra (Terra Nostra) — huge Park, whose founder was Thomas Hickling, a merchant from Boston. In the 19th century he planted 12 hectares of beautiful trees and many flowers, among which a place of honor took the hydrangea is a symbol of the Azores.
Crater Set-Cidades . which is surrounded by several scenic Hiking trails.
The Church’esglesia de Sant Miquel — was originally created in the 14th century as an observation tower on the hill. Later it was reconstructed and strengthened, and in the 19th century upgraded interior: inside walls frescoed, and the walls outside were fenced with stone walls. Today this Church is the main attraction for thousands of tourists.
The monastery and chapel of our lady of Hope . known as «Convento de Esperanca» or simply the Church of Christ is home to the magnificent statue «Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres» (God of miracles), the patron of the largest religious festivals in the Azores.
Machado Carlos Museum — located in Ponta Delgada. Large Museum with songs that deserve attention.