Praia da Vitória

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Praia da Vitória
Municipality (Concelho)
Vista parcial da Baía da Praia da Vitória, ilha Terceira, Açores, Portugal.jpg
A partial view of the municipal seat of Praia da Vitória, located along the Fontinhas fault
Coat of arms
Official name: Concelho da Praia da Vitória
Name origin: Portuguese compound for beach of the victory
Country Portugal
Autonomous Region  Azores
Island Terceira
Civil Parishes Agualva, Biscoitos, Cabo da Praia, Fonte do Bastardo, Fontinhas, Lajes, Porto Martins, Santa Cruz, Quatro Ribeiras, São Brás, Vila Nova
Center Praia da Vitória
 - elevation 27 m (89 ft)
 - coordinates 38°44′0″N 27°3′59″W / 38.73333°N 27.06639°W / 38.73333; -27.06639Coordinates: 38°44′0″N 27°3′59″W / 38.73333°N 27.06639°W / 38.73333; -27.06639
Highest point Pico Alto
 - elevation 809 m (2,654 ft)
 - coordinates 38°45′18″N 27°12′40″W / 38.75500°N 27.21111°W / 38.75500; -27.21111
Lowest point Sea level
 - location Atlantic Ocean
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Area 161.27 km2 (62 sq mi)
 - water .02 km2 (0 sq mi)
 - urban 14.45 km2 (6 sq mi)
Population 21,035 (2011)
Density 130 / km2 (337 / sq mi)
Settlement fl. 1400
 - Municipality c. 1480
LAU Câmara Municipal
 - location Praça Francisco Ornelas da Câmara, Santa Cruz
 - elevation 21 m (69 ft)
 - coordinates 38°43′52″N 27°3′38″W / 38.73111°N 27.06056°W / 38.73111; -27.06056
President Roberto Lúcio Silva Pereira Monteiro (PS)
Municipal Chair Francisco Cardoso Pereira de Oliveira (PS)
Timezone Azores (UTC-1)
 - summer (DST) Azores (UTC0)
Postal Zone 9760-851
Area Code & Prefix (+351) 292 XXX XXX
Demonym Praiense
Patron Saint Santa Cruz
Municipal Holidays 11 August
Location of the municipality of Praia da Vitória in the archipelago of the Azores
Wikimedia Commons: Praia da Vitória (Azores)
Statistics from INE (2001); geographic detail from Instituto Geográfico Português (2010)

Praia da Vitória (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈpɾajɐ ðɐ viˈtɔɾiɐ]; Beach of the Victory) is a municipality in Portugal's Autonomous Region of the Azores. The second largest administrative division on the island of Terceira, Praia da Vitória occupies the northern coast of the island and extends halfway into the interior having at its frontiers Pico Alto and the shield volcano of Santa Bárbara. The population in 2011 was 21,035,[1] in an area of 161.27 km².[2]


Engraving from the Batalha da baía da Praia (Battle of the Bay of Praia)
Camponeses transporting sand from the beaches of the beach for building purposes
A view of the main strip in Praia da Vitória during the middle of the 20th century

The area of Praia, was one of the first points of colonization on the island of Terceira; the islands first Captain-Donatorio, Jácome de Bruges, along with his first lieutenant, Diogo de Teive, established their residency in Praia. Praia constituted the seat of the Captaincy of Terceira between 1456 and 1474. By 1474, the island was divided into two captaincies (Praia and Angra): the Captaincy of Praia reverted to Álvaro Martins Homem, Bruges' successor. The growth of the woad industry and export wheat market concentrated along the fertile Ramo Grande area, allowed Praia to grow rapidly. Consequently, Praia was elevated to the status of vila (comparable to town) in 1480, still within the administration of Álvaro Martins Homem.

By the last quarter of the 16th century, Gaspar Frutuoso (the celebrated Azorean historian), wrote of Praia in these terms:

"...and shortly there is the town of Praia, noble and sumptuous and with good buildings, built in a very good style, circled by a good wall, with its forts and bulwarks all around, populated by nobles and older residents, with one of the older settlements of the island, circled by famous and rich farms of nobles and grandiose nobility, with a parish and sumptuous church of three naves, with a vaulted main chapel and porticoes and pillars of well worked marble, all circled by chapels of the grand first-born...its principal invocation is to the Holy Cross...where the house of Mercy and hospital, with two churches, one the hospital of the Holy Spirit and the other to Our Lady, with a nave down the middle...; it's a famous monastery of Saint Francis where there still continue to reside ten or twelve religious, where there are many chapels of the grand first-born similar to the above indicated; three monasteries for nuns, the more principal of the those is to Jesus..., with forty nuns with black veils and two, one of Our Lady of the Light and the other Our Lady of the Stigmata, give obedience and observation to Saint Francis, where there are few religious"[3]

During the Iberian Union, the Battle of Salga which occurred in the village of São Sebastião (then a parish of Praia) broke out along the coast in 1582. Later, during the Restoration of Portuguese Independence, the citizenry of Praia acclaimed King John IV, when Francisco Ornelas da Câmara arrived in Terceira.

The settlement was destroyed during the 1614 Earthquake, those residents along the coast lost to the sea. During the 17th century, even as the community was being re-constructed, it was hit by several more seismic events.

During the Liberal Wars, the harbor was the scene of a naval battle in 1829 between the Liberals and the Absolutists, competing factions in support of King Pedro IV and King Miguel, respectively, during the Liberal Wars. The Battle of Praia ensued when a squadron of Miguelist troops attempted to disembark at Praia (11 August 1829). As a result of this victory, Queen Maria II after being restored to the throne, acted to recognize its residents for their heroism by appending "Mui Notável" (Very notable) and "da Vitória" (of the Victoria) to its name (12 January 1837). Consequently, Praia became known as Praia da Vitória.

Its economic importance in the economy of the north continued, even after 15 June 1841 Earthquake, referred to as the Caída da Praia (The Fall of the Beach), which partial destroyed the settlement. Its reconstruction, at the end of the 19th century was motivated by councillor José Silvestre Ribeiro.

The priest Jerónimo Emiliano de Andrade, who lived at the end of the 19th century, referred to Praia da Vitória:

"The traveller who leaves Cabo da Praia is quickly encounters the magnificent and majestic Vila da Praia da Vitória, which is located a short distance, no less than a quarter league..."

The town was elevated to city on 20 June 1981, although it was referred to as the Vila da Praia da Vitória until 1983.

In the second half of the 20th century, a large aerodrome was constructed along the southwestern side of the Portuguese Air Base No.4. In addition, the port of Praia was expanded to include a 1400-metre extension. These two projects have supported the municipality's growth, along with its large industrial centre.


A view of the central urban core of the municipality of Praia da Vitória

The town boasts two notable churches, several public squares, and a number of hotels and restaurants. It edges up against a low mountain ridge called Facho (Portuguese for Torch, because in its top a primitive lighthouse and lookout place against pirates, and later a marine and military semaphoric signal station, operated for about 400 years), and a large public park atop the ridge affords excellent views of the surrounding countryside and the Atlantic Ocean. Administratively, the municipality of Praia da Vitória is divided into the following civil parishes, which handle local distribution of services and support the local residents:


Praia da Vitória is a services, fishing and agricultural community, and boasts a large new marina popular with the yachting crowd. It is the location of the only sizable sand beach on Terceira.

Lajes Air Base, a joint United States and Portuguese air force base, lies three kilometers to the north of the town. American servicemen frequent the restaurants and clubs in the town and add considerably to the local economy.



The heritage and municipal council building constructed during the Captaincy of Praia da Vitória
  • Customshouse of Praia da Vitória (Portuguese: Casa da Alfândega)
  • Fountain of Biscoito Bravo (Portuguese: Chafariz do Biscoito Bravo)
  • Fountain of Caminho Novo (Portuguese: Chafariz do Caminho Novo)
  • Fountain of Cruz do Pico (Portuguese: Chafariz da Cruz do Pico)
  • Fountain of Largo Comendador Pamplona (Portuguese: Chafariz do Largo Comendador Pamplona)
  • Fountain of Largo Conde da Praia da Vitória (Portuguese: Chafariz do Largo Conde da Praia da Vitória)
  • Fountain of Largo da Luz (Portuguese: Chafariz do Largo da Luz)
  • Fountain of Ribeira da Areia (Portuguese: Chafariz da Ribeira da Areia)
  • Fountain of Pico da Rocha (Portuguese: Chafariz do Pico da Rocha)
  • Fountain of Largo Francisco Maria Brum (Portuguese: Chafariz do Largo Francisco Maria Brum)
  • Fountain of the Amoreiras (Portuguese: Chafariz das Amoreiras)
  • Fountain of the Barreiro (Portuguese: Chafariz do Barreiro)
  • Fountain of the Caldeira of Lajes (Portuguese: Chafariz da Caldeira das Lajes)
  • Fountain of the Canada da Bezerra (Portuguese: Chafariz da Canada da Bezerra)
  • Fountain of the Cruzeiro (Portuguese: Chafariz do Cruzeiro)
  • Fountain of the Cruzeiro of Lajes (Portuguese: Chafariz do Cruzeiro das Lajes)
  • Fountain of the Fontinhas (Portuguese: Chafariz das Fontinhas)
  • Fountain of the Fundões (Portuguese: Chafariz dos Fundões)
  • Fountain of the Ladeira do Cardoso (Portuguese: Chafariz da Ladeira do Cardoso)
  • Fountain of the Malícias (Portuguese: Chafariz das Malícias)
  • Fountain of the Quatro Canadas (Portuguese: Chafariz das Quatro Canadas)
  • Hospital of the Misericórdia (Portuguese: Hospital da Misericórdia)
  • Hospital of São Lázaro (Portuguese: Hospital de São Lázaro)
  • Municipal Hall of Praia da Vitória (Portuguese: Câmara Municipal da Praia da Vitória)
  • Municipal Market of Praia da Vitóra (Portuguese: Mercado Municipal da Praia da Vitória)
  • Ramo Grande Auditorium (Portuguese: Auditório do Ramo Grande)
  • Residence of Vitorino Nemésio (Portuguese: Casa de Vitorino Nemésio)
  • Residence of Roda (Portuguese: Casa da Roda)
  • Tile Oven of Boa Vista (Portuguese: Forno da Telha da Boa Vista
  • Tile Oven of Rua Gervásio Lima (Portuguese: Forno de Telha à Rua Gervásio Lima)
  • Watermill of Rua dos Moinhos (Portuguese: Azenha da Rua dos Moinhos)
  • Watermill of Agualva (Portuguese: Azenha da Ribeira da Agualva)


  • Fort of Chagas (Portuguese: Forte das Chagas)
  • Fort of São João (Portuguese: Forte de São João)
  • Fort of Luz (Portuguese: Forte da Luz)
  • Fort of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré (Portuguese: Forte de Nossa Senhora da Nazaré)
  • Fort of Rua Longa (Portuguese: Forte da Rua Longa)
  • Fort of São Bento (Portuguese: Forte de São Bento)
  • Fort of São Caetano (Portuguese: Forte de São Caetano)
  • Fort of Santa Catarina (Portuguese: Forte de Santa Catarina)
  • Fort of São Filipe (Portuguese: Forte de São Filipe)
  • Fort of Santo Antão (Portuguese: Forte de Santo Antão)
  • Fort of the Espírito Santo (Portuguese: Forte do Espírito Santo), little remains of this 16th century fort situated on the northern edge of the Bay of Praia, which was bombarded and nearly destroyed during the Liberal conflict. Its remnants survived to the 20th century, but were obliterated during the construction and support of the northern pier, even after a Luso-American compromise was established for its recuperation.
  • Fort of the Porto (Portuguese: Forte do Porto)
  • Fort of the Porto of Biscoitos (Portuguese: Forte do Porto dos Biscoitos)
  • Fort Grande (Portuguese: Forte Grande)
  • Post of the Fiscal Guard of Praia da Vitória (Portuguese: Posto Fiscal da Praia da Vitória)


The parochial Matriz Church of Santa Cruz
  • Church of Santa Cruz (Portuguese: Igreja de Santa Cruz)
  • Church of Santa Bárbara (Portuguese: Igreja de Santa Bárbara)
  • Church of Santa Beatriz (Portuguese: Igreja de Santa Beatriz)
  • Church of São José, Santa Luzia e Santa Cruz (Portuguese: Igreja de São José, Santa Luzia, Santa Cruz)
  • Church of Senhor Santo Cristo das Misericórdias (Portuguese: Igreja do Senhor Santo Cristo das Misericórdias)
  • Hermitage of Nossa Senhora do Loreto (Portuguese: Ermida de Nossa Senhora do Loreto)
  • Hermitage of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Portuguese: Ermida de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios), located in Santa Cruz, the early 17th century chapel survived the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, but it was only in the second-half of the 18th century that any efforts were invested in recuperating the chapel. Following the earthquake and affects of the tsunami, parishioners marched through the streets in procession for their deliverance;[4]
  • Hermitage of Santa Catarina (Portuguese: Ermida de Santa Catarina)
  • Hermitage of Santa Rita (Portuguese: Ermida de Santa Rita)
  • Hermitage of Santo António (Portuguese: Ermida de Santo António)
  • Hermitage of São Lázaro (Portuguese: Ermida de São Lázaro)
  • Hermitage of São Salvador (Portuguese: Ermida de São Salvador)
  • Império of the Holy Spirit of Fonte do Bastardo (Portuguese: Império do Espírito Santo da Fonte do Bastardo)
  • Império of the Holy Spirit of Quatro Ribeiras (Portuguese: Império do Espírito Santo das Quatro Ribeiras)
  • Império of the Holy Spirit of Santa Cruz (Portuguese: Império do Espírito Santo de Santa Cruz)
  • Império of the Holy Spirit of São Pedro (Portuguese: Império do Espírito Santo de São Pedro)



It is popular with windsurfers because of the constant stiff seabreeze. Praia da Vitoria hosts an annual triathlon and is known for its unique style of bullfighting, tourada à corda.

Notable citizens[edit]


  1. ^ Instituto Nacional de Estatística
  2. ^ Eurostat
  3. ^ Gaspar Frutuoso, p.15
  4. ^ Noé, Paula (2013), SIPA, ed., Capela de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios/Igreja de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (IPA.00034503/PT071905080042) (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: SIPA – Sistema de Informação para o Património Arquitectónico, retrieved 29 December 2013 

External links[edit]