Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture (2004)
Portugal

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Portugal (Azores) 1999. Scenery from the Nature Park of the Pico Mountain.

The 987-ha site on the volcanic island of Pico, the second largest in Azores archipelago, consists of a remarkable pattern of spaced-out, long linear walls running inland from, and parallel to, the rocky shore. 

The walls were built to protect the thousands of small, contiguous, rectangular, plots (currais) from wind and seawater. Evidence of this viniculture, whose origins date back to the 15th century is manifest in the extraordinary assembly of the fields, in houses and early 19th century manor houses, in wine-cellars, churches and ports. The extraordinarily beautiful man-made landscape of the site is the best remaining area of a once much more widespread practice.

With the exception of Santa Maria, the Azores are volcanic in origin. Periodic eruptions and earthquakes have devastated island settlements throughout history. Most of the islands have steep topography, with the high point occurring on Pico at 2,351 m (7,713 ft). The islands enjoy a relatively temperate climate, but they also are subject to severe Atlantic winds, storms, and currents. The average winter temperature is 14° C (57° F), while the average summer temperature is 23° C (74° F).

Portugal (Azores) 1999. Souvenir sheet from the Nature Park of Pico Island.  

Once dominated by sugar, wheat, and oranges, the Azorean economy today features other types of agriculture as well as fishing and tourism. Chief agricultural products include cattle, dairy products, tobacco, and pineapples, and tea.  

Below is a very attractive set depicting some of the natural harvests of the Azores.  The stamps are not all directly related to the landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture, except for the second stamp in the first row, showing vineyards and grapes on the background of the Pico Mountain.  

Portugal (Azores) 2003. Natural harvests of Pico Island. Stamp #1 of six. Portugal (Azores) 2003. Natural harvests of Pico Island. Stamp #2 of six. Portugal (Azores) 2003. Natural harvests of Pico Island. Stamp #3 of six.
Portugal (Azores) 2003. Natural harvests of Pico Island. Stamp #4 of six. Portugal (Azores) 2003. Natural harvests of Pico Island. Stamp #5 of six. Portugal (Azores) 2003. Natural harvests of Pico Island. Stamp #6 of six.

Except for a few large towns, such as Ponta Delgada and Angra do Heroísmo (located on Terceira), the sparse population is scattered throughout the islands. Azorean emigration to North America has been a major factor in Azorean history, economy, and culture. Beginning in the 19th century when island residents joined the crews of American whaling ships, large numbers of Azoreans have emigrated to work and live in both the United States and Canada. By the 1990s, more Azoreans resided in North America than in the archipelago. 

Other World Heritage Sites in Portugal and Areas (on this website). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Portugal-section, for further information about the individual properties. 

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
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