This city was a port of call from the fifteenth century until the appearance of steamships in the nineteenth century. Its imposing fortifications of São Sebastião and São João Baptista, built about 400 years ago, are unique examples of military architecture. An excellent example of a type of construction or an architectural, technological or landscape ensemble that illustrates one or more significant periods in the history of mankind.
A village since 1474, Angra was historically the first European city of the Atlantic (1584), implanted as a consequence of the opening of new geographic and cultural horizons provided by the Portuguese Discoveries cycle. It developed from its port, which was of great strategic importance between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, illustrating the passage of the ways of living and building from the Middle Ages to the modernity provided by the Discoveries and the Renaissance.
Over the centuries, Angra do Heroísmo was linked to the maintenance of the Portuguese Empire, as a mandatory scale of the fleets of Brazil, Africa and India.
The city was shaken by a strong earthquake on January 1, 1980, and studies were begun for its restoration and protection. UNESCO’s classification of the central area of Angra do Heroísmo as a World Heritage Site as early as 7 December 1983 – the first city in the country to be inscribed on the list – reflects its historical and cultural importance.
Following the classification of the city by UNESCO, in order to support and supervise the works carried out, the Office of the Classified Zone of Angra do Heroísmo was created, which came to be regulated in 1987. By the port of Angra (now transferred to Praia da Vitória, to give place to the marina of Angra) have passed through the centuries caravels, ships and galleons that contributed to the progress of the city and its people, as attested by palaces, convents, churches and forts.