Many of the islands’ churches bear witness to the first period of settlement.The 16and 17centuries were times of intensive building in the Azores, and left us interesting examples of popular, military and religious art, particularly in the baroque style.
The character of buildings was often adapted to suit the raw materials available, as well as reflecting the islands’ distance from the cultural centres of Europe. The 16century town of Angra do Heroísmo (on the island ofTerceira), was the first urban centre built in the Atlantic.
Today, its well-preserved churches, palaces and fortress have earned it UnescoWorld Heritage status.
Unesco has also recognized the cultural landscape of vineyards on the island of Pico, which are situated on old lava-covered fields.
Over the centuries, this rocky land has been transformed into wine producing soil protected by a vast network of stone walls. The museums of art and ethnography, together with the popular architecture of each island are also valuable parts of the region’s cultural heritage.They provide us with ways of discovering Azorean history and the life of its people throughout the centuries.