Friday, January 4, 2008

Lajes do Pico and Sao Joao - Pico Island - Art and History

Lajes do Pico
The first settlement on the island. Important fishing and commercial port. Whale hunting centre with a centuries-old tradition. Old houses, with dressed stones and balconies running the length of the facade, revealing past prosperity. Picturesque views of the port, with its houses by the sea, and of the volcano of Pico. Curious plant for making dairy products.
Place to visit: Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição; Chapel of São Pedro and Whalers' Museurn. Set up in the former Boat-House. Whaling-boat with its equipment. Products of the whaling industry. Important collection of scrimshaw made from the teeth, bones and ivory of the sperm whale. At the place called Silveira, the only source of mineral water in the island.

São João
Set between two mistérios, destroyed by the volcanic eruption of 1718 which buried its original church, it has a small port, one of the first that was used as a whale hunting base. Its inhabitants, whose men work on land and or the sea like most of the people of Pico, have won fame for making the savoury cheese that bears the name of the parish.
Place to visit: Church of São João Baptista.

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