Faial | The Altlantic Harbour
The life of Faial revolves around Horta, the seat of the island´s only concelho (county) and the Azores´ political center, since the Regional Parliament is located there.
Faial´s mother is its breathtaking Caldeira – nature reserve, spectacular sanctuary of flora and vegetation, cathedral of imposing silence. The view of this volcanic crater is dazzling to behold, so great are its splendor and grandeur. An impression of sensuality and freshness hangs in the air, and there is a scent of land and humidity...
The next “must-see” is the volcano at Capelinhos, in order to imagine the explosions of lava that erupted from the sea in fiery jets during 1957 and 1958. Today there is a very modern, beautiful volcano interpretive center to preserve the memories.
Faial lives on memories and myths. Specially Horta. More than just a city, Horta is a feeling. Perhaps of love. Maybe even of passion. Certainly of affection. Slopping toward the sea, and an oasis of rest and relaxation in the middle of the Atlantic, Horta forms a natural amphitheater with its heart titling toward aesthetic contemplation of local people.
Taking pride in its Flemish past, indebted to the Dabney family´s legacy, the splice that linked trans-Atlantic underwater telegraph cables, used as a naval base during two World Wars, possessor of one of the world´s most beautiful bays, a place of arrivals and departures, Horta is a port of welcome, having once been “the biggest little city in the world”, as poet Pedro da Silveira wrote. At its Marina, the island´s ex-libris (hallmark), there is a whole maritime enterprise. In terms of pleasure boat movement, Horta´s Marina today ranks first in Portugal, second in Europe and fourth worldwide. Many regard it as the world´s most international ocean marina. Through there pass sailboats and sailors (yachters) from around the world, reinforcing Horta´s cosmopolitan reputation.
Horta´s other mythical space is Peter Café Sport, considered the world´s greatest sailors´ bar, where one can sip the gin-and-tonic of friendship.
This city hosts Portugal´s biggest and best nautical festival: Semana do Mar (Sea Week), starting in the beginning of August.
Horta, the westernmost city in Europe, is a city to be loved.
Vítor Rui Dores, 2015.