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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sulphur Cavern - Furna do Enxofre - Graciosa

The landscape of Graciosa attracts and fascinates the visitor. It is made up of plains, round hills covered with trees, vineyards lying between dark stone walls, chequered fields of tilled land and the constant presence of the blue sea. What also attracts and fascinates is the atmosphere of calm isolation that is lived and felt, the unusual situation of an island that is almost cut off from the world and where life maintains the rhythm of the seasons.

Sulphur Cavern
Volcanological phenomenon, geologically unique in the world. In the interior of Caldeira, the crater of a former volcano, there is a deep tunnel with a depth of about 100 metres. At the bottom lies a huge grotto, with an 80 metres high vault covered with stalactites and an underground lake of cold, sulphurous water with a diameter of about 130 metres and a maximum depth of 15 metres. Besides the entrance tunnel there are two other openings in the flanks of the crater. You can walk down the tunnel by a stone stairway, The recommended visiting time is between 11 a.m. and 2 pm., when the sunlight penetrates the interior of the cavern and creates dazzling effects.

From inside the Furna do Enxofre (Sulphur Cavern) lookup up at the cave entrace. The stone tower to the right contains the stairway you use to get down to it.

Prince Albert of Monaco, the famous l9th century oceanographer who led several expeditions in the waters of the Azores, was one of the first visitors of the cavern, having gone down into it by a rope ladder in 1879.
After visiting the Sulphur Cavern you should walk about Caldeira and circle its crater. Magnificent vistas. Possibility of catching sight of the islands of Terceira, São Jorge, Pico and Faial.

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