Graciosa Island information
Graciosa is an island located in the extreme north-west of the Central Group of the Azores, 37 km northeast of the island of São Jorge and 60 km north-west of Terceira, center approximately at the geographic coordinates 28 ° 05 'W and 39 ° 05' N. It has an approximate area of 60.66 km ² and roughly oval format, with 12.5 km of length and 7.5 km of maximum width. It is the least mountainous of the Azorean islands, reaching 405 meters of maximum altitude in the south edge of Caldeira. This low elevation gives the island a temperate oceanic climate, characterized by the lower rainfall of the archipelago. The low rainfall leads to the relative dryness of the island, which at the end of the season gives it a whitish hue, which associated with the white houses of the villages gave him the epithet "White Island", which was attributed to him by Raul Brandão in the work "As Unknown Islands "(1926).
It has 4 391 inhabitants (2011), mostly concentrated in the seat of the only county of the island, the town of Santa Cruz da Graciosa, whose historical center constitutes, for the richness and balance of its architecture, a classified area. In the past, when the population was much higher than today, the lack of water was a serious problem, leading to the construction of reservoirs (tanks) and cisterns of various nature and the emblematic tanks ("pauis") that are today the mark of the main square of Santa Cruz da Graciosa.
The landscape of Graciosa is of great beauty, combining the green of the pastures with the white of the isolated houses and the villages. One of the "ex libris" of the island is a large rock formation, in front of the Ponta da Barca lighthouse, with a configuration very similar to a whale seen in profile. It has fertile and flattened fields that produce corn, vegetables, fruit (mainly meloa) and wine and where cattle are raised, today the main source of wealth of the island.