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Sete Cidades

Trip Planner Europe  /  Portugal  /  Azores  /  Sao Miguel  /  Sete Cidades
Sete Cidades is a civil parish in the center of the municipality of Ponta Delgada, that is likewise located in the center of a massive volcanic crater three miles across, also referred to as Sete Cidades. The population in 2011 was 793, in an area of 19.19 km². It is one of the smallest parishes of Ponta Delgada by population, although the largest in area.HistoryLatin originsThe region received its geographic nomenclature from the Latin Insula Septem Civitatum, which means Island of the Seven Tribes or Island of the Seven Peoples (Portuguese: Ilha das Sete Tribos or Ilha dos Sete Povos), but became a historical reference as the Island of the Seven Cities. This comes from classical Latin, probably incorporated into the older traditions of Mediterranean peoples, through the navigators of European antiquity, or the Phoenicians. In Latin, civitas does not signify city, but rather a collectivity of citizens of a determined community.The first Iberian document to refer to Sete Cidades was a Latin chronicle from the city of Porto-Cale (the modern city of Oporto), written in 750 A.D. by a Christian cleric. During this era, the Iberian Kingdom of the Visigoths was in the process of collapse, under pressure from Muslim invasions (which began in 711 A.D.). The Visigoth archbishop fled to Porto-Cale, fearing the assault of the Muslim forces, where he deliberated an escape to the lands in the Western Sea, which sailors insisted existed. In 734, the archbishop, accompanied by six other bishops, their prelates and approximately 5000 faithful, sailed away in a fleet of twenty ships. The chronicle indicated that the fleet arrived at their destination, burned their ships and established seven Christian communities under the reign of the seven religious leaders. Although many prepared to follow, in truth, the archbishop (if he existed) was never heard from again, nor was the route to the mythical lands established.
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