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Portugal –Madeira Island I

Published: 28.2.2016
It is an archipelago and also an island which is located in the Macaronesia region. Only two islands are inhabited as the whole archipelago is a natural reserve. These islands are Madeira and Porto Santo.

Ilhas Selvagens and Desartas are some of the uninhabited islands. The archipelago is of volcanic origin. It is not difficult to deduce how it was formed. Every island is a summit of extinct volcanoes. We can see them only partially. Other four kilometers of their height is under the waters of the Atlantic. Volcanic activity formed many hills on the islands. Mountains are very important as water which supplies the island collects here.

Madeira, mountains

Madeira is referred to as a pearl or the garden of the Atlantic. Also, history of volcanic activity is the reason why it is reffered to also as the daughet of fire. Travel agencies depict Madeira as the island of eternal spring. The difference between summer and winter temperatures is moderate. In the summer the temperature is on average 28 °C. 18 °C in winter. The air is very humid here, therefore, you can plant here almost everything. Harvests are usually two time a year onMadeira. Flowers always blossom. The offer of exotic fruits at local markets is astonishing. Soil is very fertile here. People grow vegetables, fruits, wine, bananas, cabbage… One of the first plants to be grown here was crops other plants were brought here from all around the world.

Madeira, market Madeira, market

Another crop which turned Portugal into one of the richest countries is what used to be called white gold. Many merchants travelled to the island from all parts of the continent. They offered precious goods, paintings, art items made of expensive metals. All of this for sugar cane. This is the reason why many precious collections are to be found at museum in Funchal.

Madeira, port of Funchal

Christopher Columbus came here to trade sugar cane, first time in 1474. But he didn’t have here good enough network of contacts. Therefore, the trade didn’t do well. Fiver years later, however, he returned. The reason was difference. He met a girl who was a daughter of one of Madeira’s discoverers. Columbus intended to marry her and the wedding gift given by his father-in-law were maps. These then had a large impact on his and others life. When he had done math regarding water flux and slit he realized there could be another continent to the west. Eventually, in 1492 he discovered a land. But he though it was India. Only Amerigo Vespucci realized that he might stand on a new continent.

Madeira, park Santa Catarina Madeira, Christopher Columbus

The sculpture of Christopher Columbus is in Funchal above the port in the park of Santa Catarina. From there is a beautiful view of the bay. Flowers’ smell helps you to relax as well as swans swimming in the lake. An important structure there is local church. Its name is the same as of the park. This church is the oldest on the island.

Madeira, Santa Catarina park Madeira, church of Santa Catarina

The Christopher Columbus museum – the house where he lived and collections of his personal items are all to be found on Porto Santo island, only 50 kilometers away from Madeira.

Madeira

GPS: (Funchal) 32°39'56.9"N 16°55'27.9"W

Text and photos: Monika Babická

Madeira



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