Capital, in a small way : Ponta Delgada

Ponta Delgada isn’t especially grand, as capital cities go.  In fact, my initial impression was that it was rather shabby.  But it is the gateway to an archipelago that captured my imagination long ago.  The Azores for me were the fulfilment of a dream.

Sitting in mid-Atlantic, this group of 9 volcanic islands seemed to me a world apart, and yet so much of their architecture felt familiar.  They are, after all, Portuguese islands.  Ponta Delgada, situated on the largest island, Sáo Miguel, is their administrative capital.  Funnily enough (history is a strange thing) the religious capital of the islands is Angra on Terceira, and the legislative process operates from Horta on Faial.

It was pure coincidence that we arrived on the island in the midst of their greatest religious festival, in May.  Ponta Delgada is the traditional centre of Festa de Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres, and the Campo de Sáo Francisco and surrounding streets were decked in all their finery.

The Convent of Nossa Senhora da Esperanca is extraordinary both inside and out, especially by night when the whole square radiates light.  From its origins as a small fishing village to the cosmopolitan city that it now is, Ponta Delgada retains something of the charm of these magical islands.

It takes a special person to induce me to delve into my archives.  Viveka is making a guest appearance hostessing Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week.  Few people are more well-traveled than my lovely and generous friend, but I don’t think she has been to this particular Capital.  Thanks for taking me back, darlin’.  I enjoyed every second!

 

79 comments

    1. I think that’s probably true, Gunta. Everywhere we went on these islands we seemed to come upon a procession. They are very subject to the storms of the Atlantic so I imagine it’s a relief when summer arrives. 🙂 🙂

  1. The architecture looks really splendid when lit up, Jo. I love the pageantry and beauty of the religious festivals. You’ve really dropped into a marvelous cultural richness which pairs beautifully with the gorgeous landscape. What a dream!

  2. Wow, this looks pretty grand to me. I especially love the beautiful night shot. I am going to Portugal in a couple of months and wish I was going to have time to make it here!

    1. The city itself is a bit rundown in places, but you will find that in much of Portugal. You’ll find plenty to entertain you on the mainland. Where do you plan to go? Lisbon and Porto, I imagine? 🙂 🙂

  3. Hello, I just arrived Sao Miguel last night and boy was I surprised! I pictured a small one-road island, but it’s really quite big and from what I’ve seen so far, after going around in circles looking for my guest-house, just as you say, a bit shabby. But tomorrow is another day, and I’m really looking forward to soaking in these waters. Did you visit the Furnace?

    1. Sáo Miguel is a huge island, Krystina, and the road system is great. That’s not the case on some of the other islands. How long are you staying? We stayed at Furnas , Villa Franco de Campo and Capelas as well as Ponta Delgada, to make it easier to see more of the island. I hope you have good weather. 🙂 🙂

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