Santa Cruz das Flores

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Coordinates: 39°27′18″N 31°7′53″W / 39.45500°N 31.13139°W / 39.45500; -31.13139
Santa Cruz das Flores
Municipality (Concelho)
Pico da Sé, Inverno de 2008, ilha das Flores, Açores.JPG
Pico da Sé: a rare winter scene in the municipality of Santa Cruz das Flores
Coat of arms
Official name: Concelho de Santa Cruz das Flores
Name origin: Portuguese for Holy Cross of Flores
Country  Portugal
Autonomous Region  Azores
Island Flores
Civil Parishes Caveira, Cedros, Ponta Delgada, Santa Cruz das Flores
Center Santa Cruz das Flores
 - elevation 35 m (115 ft)
 - coordinates 39°27′18″N 31°7′53″W / 39.45500°N 31.13139°W / 39.45500; -31.13139
Highest point Morro Alto
 - location Pico da Burrinha
 - elevation 911 m (2,989 ft)
 - coordinates 39°28′0″N 31°13′38″W / 39.46667°N 31.22722°W / 39.46667; -31.22722
Lowest point Sea level
 - location Atlantic Ocean
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Area 70.91 km2 (27 sq mi)
 - water .62 km2 (0 sq mi)
 - urban 1.43 km2 (1 sq mi)
Population 2,289 (2011)
Density 32 / km2 (83 / sq mi)
Settlement c.1548
 - Municipality c.1895
LAU Câmara Municipal
 - location Rua Senador André de Freitas
 - elevation 24 m (79 ft)
 - coordinates 39°27′12.72″N 31°7′40.82″W / 39.4535333°N 31.1280056°W / 39.4535333; -31.1280056
President Manuel Alberto da Silva Pereira (PS)
Municipal Chair Maria da Graça Silveira Armas Camacho (PS)
Timezone Azores (UTC-1)
 - summer (DST) Azores (UTC0)
Postal Zone 9970
Area Code & Prefix (+351) 292 XXX-XXXX
Demonym Santa-cruzenses
Patron Saint Nossa Senhora da Conceição
Municipal Holidays 24 June (São João)
Location of the municipality of Santa Cruz das Flores in the archipelago of the Azores
Wikimedia Commons: Santa Cruz das Flores

Santa Cruz das Flores (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈsɐ̃tɐ ˈkɾuʒ ðɐʃ ˈfloɾɨʃ]) is a municipality in Portugal, located across from the island of Corvo on the island of Flores, in the western part of the autonomous region of Azores. The population in 2011 was 2,289,[1] in an area of 70.91 km².[2] It occupies the northern half of the island. It is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on all sides except south, where it borders Lajes das Flores.


The ornate facade of the Franciscan Convent of Boaventura, the centre of religious life until the expulsion of the religious orders

The earliest record of the northern municipality referred to the village of Santa Cruz das Flores, in 1548. Transcribing the works of Father Gaspar Frutuoso, Francisco Gomes documented the arrival of the crew of the nau Nossa Senhor da Misericórida. In the beginning of the 17th-Century Diogo das Chagas, referred to the villa of Santa Cruz as the "head of the island" and the center of the administration, noting "[the village] very well located with the best port on the island...". Going on, he described "...the first road of the Village and from the Porto das Poças another road, which is the last in the village, and where the rest of the roads intersect...". This year marked the municipal administration of the northern half of the island; part of the administrative regalia, was the obligatory construction of a lighthouse.

A primitive church, dating to the 16th century and constructed in 1627, by vicar Inácio Coelho, who in 1641 provided land for the founding of the Franciscan Convent of São Boaventura, as well as the bread and wine for religious ceremonies.

By the end of 1693, Frair Agostinho de Mont'Alverne, referred to 9000 inhabitants, living in 180 homes, primarily in the village of Santa Cruz. The original settlers were Portuguese, primarily from the area of the Alentejo and Minho.

Since January 7, 1841, the villa of Santa Cruz, was the judicial center for the dual-administration of Flores and Corvo (the Western archipelago); the justice system was handled from Santa Cruz, although a magistrate came from off-island. Santa Cruz grew and quickly surpassed Lajes demographically and in its economic position, finally coopting the politics in the two islands in 1895. On the November 18th of that year, the municipality of Lajes was made redundant, and along with Corvo, it became an integrated municipality from 1895 to about 1898. In 1898, the counsel José Luciano de Castro undertook the restoration of the individual administrative divisions.


The twin lakes of Lagoa Funda and Lagoa Rasa, located in the central part of the municipality, and part of the Caldeira Funda Natural Forest Reserve
The Bay of Alagoa, a point where farmers exported oranges and where imports to the north eastern part of the island were channelled
A view of Pico dos Sete Pés, one of the peaks that mark the interior of Santa Cruz

Physical geography[edit]

As part of a volcanic island, the municipality of Santa Cruz das Flores offers several scenic vistas, with extinct volcanic cones and lakes in an area generally rugged. It is a natural garden, whose principal activities includes floral-culture and the ubiquitous Azorean dairy industries. The only significantly level ground is occupied by its primary center, Santa Cruz das Flores (parish), located on the eastern coast and near the municipal border with Lajes das Flores. Apart from a commercial center, it is the home of the island's only airport and secondary school.

To the north, along the only roadway, is the hamlet of Fazenda de Santa Cruz, noted for its Forest Reserve (Reserva Florestal da Fazenda de Santa Cruz), artificial lake and the island's only electrical station (constructed in 1967). The park is home to a small spawning program for trout, provides sites for picnicking, location of deer pens and an abundance of endemic plant species.

At the end of the Regional Road is the community of Ponta Delgada a coastal community with a line of sight to Corvo, as well as many sheltered coves and bays. The Gruta dos Encharéus (an enormous coastal grotto 50 meters long by 25 wide), the Gruta do Galo, the islets of Maria Vaz, Cartário, Abrões, Muda, Pão de Açúcar and Furado, as well as the plains of Ponta Delgada, Moinho and Vermelha, among others, are natural symbols of the coast of this municipality.

Ecoregions/Protected areas[edit]

The western and interior parts of the municipality are largely vacant of inhabitants and unspoiled by development, partly responsible for the island's biodiversity being recognized by UNESCO (May 26, 2000). Many of the islands natural resources are located in this region, which includes Morro Alto (the highest point in the municipality and island at 915 meters) and the following natural sites of community interest:

  • Reserva Florestal de Recreio Luís Paulo Camacho[3][4] (English: Luís Paulo Camacho Recreational Forest Reserve)
  • Reserva Florestal Natural da Caldeira Funda (English: Caldeira Funda Natural Forest Reserve)
  • Reserva Florestal Natural da Caldeira Rasa (English: Caldeira Rasa Natural Forest Reserve)
  • Reserva Florestal Natural do Morro Alto e Pico do Sé (English: Morro Alto and Pico do Sé Natural Forest Reserve)

In addition to the Forest Reserves, the municipality is bisected by a series of pedestrian hiking trails, that skirt the coastal areas and the interior. These trails, at many levels of endurance, include trips that cover: Ponta Delgada, Cedros, Ponta Ruiva, the village of Santa Cruz, Fazenda, Monte, Vales, Ribeira dos Barqueiros and even the smaller parish of Caveira.[5]


Santiago des Flores has a climate on the border between humid subtropical and oceanic. It has the highest rainfall of all the Azores’ islands and owing to the influence of the Gulf Stream the mildest winters of any place so far from the equator. However, the warm Gulf Stream waters mean rain falls on two-thirds of all days during the year and humidity averages around 80 percent.

Climate data for Santa Cruz das Flores, Azores
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 21.1
Average high °C (°F) 17.0
Daily mean °C (°F) 14.5
Average low °C (°F) 11.9
Record low °C (°F) 2.1
Rainfall mm (inches) 197.1
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 23.9 22.0 21.1 18.6 18.6 15.7 15.0 16.4 19.7 21.9 22.1 24.7 239.7
Source: Instituto de Meteorologia [6]

Human Geography[edit]

The northern centre of Ponta Delgada connecting Flores with Corvo
Population of
Santa Cruz das Flores
(1849 - 2004)
Year Pop.   ±%  
1849 4,858 —    
1900 3,629 −25.3%
1930 3,484 −4.0%
1960 3,207 −8.0%
1981 2,456 −23.4%
1991 2,628 +7.0%
2001 2,493 −5.1%
2004 2,500 +0.3%

Situated on the maritime coast, the urbanized area is situated on plateau demarcated by a western cliff and the main airport, and surrounded on its western edge by agricultural fields.

The municipality is administered by four civil parishes (Portuguese: freguesias) that include:

  • Caveira - the smallest parish in size, bordering Lajes das Flores, with less than 100 inhabitants;
  • Cedros - the "middle" parish that straddles the river-valleys of Alagoa Bay and historical location of orchards owing to its micro-climate;
  • Ponta Delgada - third-largest community on the island, located along the northern coast;
  • Santa Cruz das Flores - municipal seat, location of the airport and largest population (less than 2000 inhabitants.

Although the population of the municipality has remained relatively stable, it has seen a slow decrease over the years.

Since 2006, the local municipal government has developed many infrastructures, re-qualified many existing buildings, roads and improved the accessibility of existing localities. This included many improvements and expansion of roadways, provision of electrical, water and sanitary services, as well as the construction of new subdivisions (such as the Loteamento da Terça) and beautification programs.[7]



  • Lighthouse of Ponta do Albernaz (Portuguese: Farol da Ponta do Albernaz), inaugurated on 28 January 1925 as part of the Plano Geral de Alumiamento e Balizagem (General Illumination and Nautical Signalling Plan) for the northern coast of Flores, with the intent of providing a beacon for shipping passing through the Flores-Corvo;[8]
  • Municipal Library of Santa Cruz das Flores (Portuguese: Biblioteca Municipal de Santa Cruz das Flores)
  • Museum Pimental de Mesquita (Portuguese: Casa-Museu Pimentel de Mesquita)
  • Whaling Factory of Boqueiro (Portuguese: Fábrica da Baleia do Boqueirão)


  • Church of Benditas Almas (Portuguese: Igreja Paroquial de Caveira/Igreja das Benditas Almas ), around 1767 the first small church, was constructed under the initiative of José António de Sousa Bettencourt (dedicated to the Blessed Souls) on the site of today's cemetery, but the current church (of the same invocation) was only founded in 1867;[9]
  • Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Portuguese: Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição)
  • Church of Nossa Senhora do Livramento (Portuguese: Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Livramento)
  • Church of Nossa Senhora de Lourdes (Portuguese: Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Lourdes)
  • Church of Nossa Senhora do Pilar (Portuguese: Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Pilar)
  • Church of São Pedro (Portuguese: Igreja Paroquial de Ponta Delgada/Igreja de São Pedro), parochial church dedicated to St. Peter, constructed in 1763 and remodeled during the latter part of the 20th Century;[10]
  • Convent of São Boaventura (Portuguese: Igreja e claustro do Convento Franciscano de São Boaventura), today home to the Museum of Flores, the Franciscan convent was built under the initiative of Inácio Coelho, then vicar of Santa Cruz.[11] It is suggested that this church was originally conceived in fulfillment of a vow following the triumph of Portuguese forces over Spain during the Restoration War.[11]


  1. ^ Instituto Nacional de Estatística
  2. ^ Eurostat
  3. ^ Reserva Florestal de Recreio Luís Paulo Camacho Pamphlet (Portuguese) for the Recreational Forest Reserve.
  4. ^ In 2002, this name was adopted by the Regional Government, to replace the more ambiguous Reserva Florestal Natural da Fazenda de Santa Cruz (English: Fazenda de Santa Cruz Forest Reserve) in Legislative Decree No. 16/1989 (August 30).
  5. ^ Itinerários Pedestres do Concelho Pamphlet (Portuguese) of the Hiking Trails.
  6. ^ "Normais climatológicas 1981-2010>Flores". Instituto de Meteorologia. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Câmara Municipal de Santa Cruz das Flores (January 2007), p.2-11
  8. ^ Costa, Patrícia (2002), SIPA, ed., Casa Pimentel de Mesquita (IPA.00012776/PT072006030004) (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: SIPA – Sistema de Informação para o Património Arquitectónico, retrieved 29 March 2014 
  9. ^ Noé, Paula (2011), SIPA, ed., Igreja Paroquial de Caveira/Igreja das Benditas Almas (IPA.00032452/PT072006010009) (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: SIPA – Sistema de Informação para o Património Arquitectónico, retrieved 29 March 2014 
  10. ^ Noé, Paula (2011), SIPA, ed., Igreja Paroquial de Ponta Delgada/Igreja de São Pedro (IPA.00032454/PT072006030011) (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: SIPA – Sistema de Informação para o Património Arquitectónico, retrieved 29 March 2014 
  11. ^ a b Noé, Paula (2002), SIPA, ed., Igreja e claustro do Convento Franciscano de São Boaventura (IPA.00008193/PT072006040001) (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: SIPA – Sistema de Informação para o Património Arquitectónico, retrieved 6 October 2013