São Jorge Island
Created by successive volcanic eruptions in straight line, the lovely São Jorge Island is located on the central group of the amazing Azores Archipelago, separated by the neighbour Pico Island by the São Jorge canal, a sea strait with about 15km.
Occupying an area of 246 Km2, in 53 km length and 8 km width, São Jorge has its highest peak at 1067 meters high, and is famous for the wonderful “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.
The discovery dates of the Azores Archipelago are unknown, with several historical researches affirming that some of the island were already referred in Genovese maps since 1351, yet it was only from 1431 onwards that the colonization started in these Islands.
The colonization in São Jorge Island probably started around 1460 with people from the northern regions of Portugal mainland.
São Jorge developed thanks to its fertile soils and to the exportation, yet its importance got in decay due to the natural catastrophes and to political and economical crisis, which led to its isolation for some centuries. Yet, with the constructions and improvements of the maritime ports and other infra-structures such as the airport (already in the 20th century), and with the agricultural, fishing and cattle breeding development as well as the appearance of some industries, São Jorge Island gets its importance and development again.
It is worth knowing the amazing natural landscapes as well as the wonderful human and architectonic heritage of this marvellous Island surrounded by the vast Atlantic Ocean.
The villages are mostly rural, with typical architecture white and dark (from the volcanic material - basalt), with strong influences from the traditional architecture of the northern regions of Portugal mainland but also with Spanish and Flanders influences.
The Whale industry was also quite important in this Island, as well as others in the Archipelago, mainly between the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, consisting on an important incoming font for population throughout the Island. Nowadays, as Whale hunting is forbidden by law, several companies promote the much appreciated Cetaceous Observation, allowing perfect moments of leisure, contemplation and nature contact.
Land of tradition, fertile soils and pastures, and the rich influence of the wide Atlantic Ocean, in Faial Island, the typical Gastronomy assembles delightful recipes with the best meat, sea and shell food, vegetables and also the famous São Jorge Cheese and the conventual pastry tradition. Quite appreciated are the dishes with Cockles, as this is the only place in the Archipelago where they inhabit.
In what concerns to Handicraft, São Jorge has a long tradition on loom weaving pieces, among other interesting pieces made with local materials, according to ancestral techniques.