Madeira - History
Ponta do Garajau History - 5th March 2011
Porto Moniz History - 2nd March 2011
Camacha Clock Tower - 15th July 2010
History of Monte Church - 29th April 2010
The origins of Monte Church go back to the very earliest days of the Portuguese in Madeira.
Commissioned by the first two children to be born on the island, twins named Adam and Eve, the original chapel was built in 1470.
Undergoing enhancements and expansion, the chapel was completely rebuilt in 1747 - only to be destroyed by an earthquake the following year.The building of the present day church was completed in 1818.
Legends exist that link the church with mystical apparitions of the Virgin Mary and Nossa Senhora do Monte officially became the Patron Saint of the island in 1804 more. . .
Emperor Charles I's Tomb - 21st April 2010
That the final resting place for the mortal remains of the last Emperor of the Austria-Hungary Empire should reside in a side chapel of Monte Church may seem somewhat puzzling to many.
However, fate has that unnerving knack of taking a set of chance circumstances and freezing them in time.
The Habsburg family, of which Emperor Charles was a member, had been affectionately associated before with Madeira in the guise of the Empress Sissi, the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria.But, Emperor Charles I's fate had been largely determined by forces beyond his control.
Perhaps, in a final attempt to grasp back the course of destiny, Emperor Charles I's body may lie in a coffin on the hillside above Funchal, but his heart has endeavoured to follow the path of true love more. . .
Christ Statue at Garajau - 2nd April 2010
The statue of Christ the Redeemer is Madeira's version of the more famous statue of Jesus that stands above Rio de Janeiro.
Located on the headland at Ponta do Garajau, the smaller Madeiran monument gazes out across the Atlantic Ocean that stretches to the horizon.
The statue was commissioned in 1927 by Counsellor Ayres Ornelas and his wife, D. Maria de Jesus de Sousa Holatein de Ornelas as a thanksgiving.
The immediate vicinity around the statue has recently undergone much development and further work is planned for the near future.With a nearby cable car, a pebble beach that is popular with the locals during the summer and a headland walk that gives lovely views of the south east coastline, the spot has something to offer most people.
So, even if you are not religiously incline, Ponta do Garajau is well worth a visit more. . .
Monte Toboggan in 1909 - 26th Jan 2010
The Monte toboggan sled in 1909
Since the early 1850s, flimsy wicker basket sleds have been a feature of travelling down the steep slopes that surround Funchal.
Indeed, from the onset, the toboggan ride has been a favourite with tourists to Madeira.
Nowadays, the Monte toboggan sled ride is maintained exclusively for visitors to the island. As such, it has become something of a tourist trap; whereby the largest amount of euros is extracted from the unwary for the least in return.
However, before commercialism stretched its tendrils to grab hold of the toboggans, the original sledge ride down from Monte and beyond was truly a breathtaking experience. For the patrons of yesteryear, it was an exhilarating journey fraught with not a little risk.
So, to re-live a long since departed excitement, read our adaptation of a contemporary account of riding the Monte toboggans in 1909 more. . .
Madeira Wine's Secret - 26th Nov 2009
Tracing the development of Madeira wine's unique blend and excellent storage properties leads us on an historical trail of mystery and chance circumstance.
Whilst wine-making has been undertaken on the island from the sixteenth century, the resulting liquor has not always possessed the unique qualities that are so clearly evident today.
So, why does the present day connoisseur owe so much to the disobedience of a ship's crew?
And, why exactly did the equator prove to be the dividing line between the usual ordinary wine and the superior product of Madeira wine as we know it today?
Join us on our voyage of discovery which uncovers the final ingredient that bestows on Madeira wine its own particular niche in the marketplace more. . .
Funchal shelled in 1916 - 18th Nov 2009
The Bombardment of Funchal
in 1916 and 1917
Madeira, and Funchal in particular, did not escape the violent consequences of the First World War.
Funchal, which had long been a refuelling station for coal powered ocean going ships, became a strategic target, mostly because of its long association with Britain and British trading interests.
Indeed, it was the visit of the British owned ship, the SS Dacia, that prompted the first German U-boat attack on the city.
The SS Dacia had been undertaking war related work, laying communications cables off the coast of Africa, and thus could be seen by Germany as a legitimate war target.
Unfortunately for the inhabitants of Funchal, a German U-boat chose to attack the SS Dacia whilst it was moored in Funchal harbour more. . .