‚ÄúPico is the most beautiful, the most extraordinary island of the Azores, a beauty that belongs only to itself, a remarkable colour and with a strange power of attraction. It is more than an island ‚Äď it is a statue that rises to the sky and is dented by fire ‚Äď it is another Adamastor as was the Cape of Good Hope.‚ÄĚ (BRAND√ÉO, Raul, The Unknown Islands.)


Pico Island

The most extraordinary island of the Azores

The island of Pico is the second largest island in the Azorean archipelago, in the North Atlantic. It lies 8.3 kilometres from the island of Faial and 15 miles from the island of S√£o Jorge. It has an area of 447 square kilometres, a 151.84 kilometre coast line and 31 islets, large and small. It has a resident population of 14,806 inhabitants (in 2001). It measures 42 kilometres in length by 20 kilometres in width and it owes its name to the majestic volcanic mountain, the Pico Mountain, which culminates in a sharp peak named Piquinho (small peak).

This is the highest mountain in Portugal and the third highest mountain that rises from the Atlantic, reaching 2351 meters above sea level.

Administratively, the island consists of three counties or municipalities: Lajes do Pico and Madalena both with six villages and S√£o Roque with five.

Between the villages of Santa Luzia and Bandeiras, there is a modern regional airport with direct connections with Lisbon (TAP Air Portugal / SATA International), Terceira and São Miguel (SATA Air Açores). Pico also has daily sea links (Transmaçor) with the city of Horta, Faial and the towns of Velas and Calheta on São Jorge Island. During the summer months Pico also offers sea links with the other islands of the archipelago. 

 

From the 19th century to the present

From the 19th century to the present In the mid-nineteenth century, wine production suffered a severe blow with the attack of mildew (1852) that came from the United States and destroyed the vines of European origin. The recovery was slow and was based on new types of grape vines. Alternatively, the cultivation of fruits, such as oranges, apples, peaches and figs (the last two also used to produce ‚Äúaguardente‚ÄĚ a local brandy) developed and rapidly reached levels of circulation and local exportation capable of supporting the regional circuit. Thus, the movement of people from Pico to Faial became a daily habit, whereby fruit producers would go to Faial to sell their fruit.

During the same period, the island was a major whaling centre in the heyday of whale hunting, having managed to overcome the decline that resulted from the cessation of hunting in the last quarter of the 20th century, with tuna fishing and the canning industry, and, more recently, with the touristic value associated to the whale watching activity.

More recently, in July 2004, UNESCO inscribed Pico‚Äôs vineyard landscape as World Heritage under the category of Cultural Heritage. The classified areas are called ‚ÄúLajidos‚ÄĚ and they are found in the villages of Cria√ß√£o Velha and Santa Luzia. Presently, Pico‚Äôs vineyards are part of Pico‚Äôs Nature Park, as well as the Pico Mountain Nature Reserve and the Central Plateau.

 

Heritage

In terms of natural heritage, the focus goes to Torres Cave in the village of Criação Velha and the whole geological area called Frei Matias Cave. In terms of cultural heritage emphasis goes to the Pico Museum, with its three poles: The Wine Museum in Madalena, installed in a former Carmelites convent, the Whale Industry Museum in São Roque do Pico and the Whalers Museum in Lajes do Pico.

Traditional on the island are the ‚ÄúGood Jesus‚ÄĚ feast and procession (most important religious feast in the village of S√£o Mateus), Whaler‚Äôs Week (celebrations in hounour of Our Lady of Lourdes and whalers in Lajes do Pico), Cais Agosto (festival at the beginning of August at Cais do Pico in S√£o Roque), religious festivities in honour of S√£o Roque (in S√£o Roque do Pico), the festivities in hounour of Saint Mary Magdalene (in Madalena), Grape Harvest Week and finally the festivities in honour of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

Source: http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilha_do_Pico

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lajes do Pico

The oldest County on the Island



Lajes do Pico is the oldest county on the island of Pico. It has an area of 154.35 km ² and 4,711 inhabitants. It is divided into six villages: São João, Lajes, Ribeiras Calheta do Nesquim, Piedade and Ribeirinha. This county has an economic base strongly linked to livestock (mainly cattle breeding for meat and dairy production) and to pig farming.

The village of Lajes do Pico has a strong fishing tradition, particularly tuna fishing and it was for many years the centre of the whale hunting activity.



Climate

The climate on this part of the island, particularly in the County of Lajes do Pico, is maritime temperate, with average temperatures oscillating between 14 ¬į C and 22 ¬į C. The precipitation shows a regular average throughout the year, although with a higher level in the winter.



Culture and traditions/customs

Cultural activities in Lajes do Pico are strongly influenced by popular initiatives and traditions, some of them centuries old, brought about by the first settlers. Over the centuries, these customs suffered some adjustments adapted to the mentality of the people who promoted them. These adjustments may have been influenced by nature itself or by the mixture of beliefs brought by populations of different origins that arrived on the island.

Events linked to nature, the sea and volcanism, associated to the isolation caused by insularity, are among the factors that most shaped the mentality of these island people and they are the source of their deeply felt appeals to God.

Thus the Holy Spirit Feast emerges, a festivity dating back to the early settlers, who sought in the Divine protection from volcanoes, earthquakes and other natural disasters.

This ritual has 500 years of history and was taken by Azoreans to all corners of the world, particularly to North America, United States of America and Canada, as well as the state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brasil.

This ritual includes the crowning of a person, who must carry a sceptre and crown, usually in silver (although available in gold), as symbols of the Holy Spirit.

This unique and absolutely popular event, in which the church barely intervenes, is a large festival that is held on the seventh Sunday after Easter.

Besides the festivities in honour of the Holy Spirit, the Whalers Week festival is held in the last week of August. The origin of this festivity dates back to 1883, when the whalers had this celebration in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes.

As for handicrafts, emphasis goes to the crochet laces that are done based on traditional motifs of the island and the Azores, as well as some modern ones. Other important handicrafts are the straw hats and mats made from reeds. Possibly one of the most elaborate, expensive and rare handicrafts are undoubtedly the pieces of art carved on whale teeth. On these pieces of art, representations of sailing ships, whaling scenes, mermaids and other matters related to the toil of the sea, are very common.

 

Source: http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lajes_do_Pico 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activities


Pico offers numerous activities for visitors:

 Bird watching

 Whale watching

 Visits to the lagoons

 Diving

 Game fishing

 Mountain climbing

 Walking Trails

 Boat trips

 Wine tasting

 Cheese tasting

 Handicraft

 Visits to the Naval Museum

 Visits to the Wine Museum

 Visits to the Whale Museum

 Visits to the Torres Cave

 Visits to the Art and 
 Ocean Sciences Centre

 Swimming with dolphins

 Bicycle tours

 

 


Indulge in the cuisine of the Island of Pico:

 Fish stew

 Grilled fish

 Boiled cavaco

 Boiled lobster

 Grilled limpets

 Grilled squid

 Octopus stew

 Pork sausage with taro
 or yam

 Roast beef

 Blood sausage with taro
 or yam

Sopas do Espirito Santo
(Holy Spirit traditional dish)

 Pork greaves

 

 Sweet bread

 

 Corn bread

 

 Red and white wines