Azoreans - Settlements

Typically each island has a major perimeter road from which secondary roads—some barely passable—lead into a Mountainous interior or down to coastal sites. Settlements follow the road, and cultivated fields and pastures are located behind a strip of contiguous houses. The few small interior Villages (each about 500 people) are found at intersections of the roads; dwellings outline a central area of tilled fields, parish church, mill, and café or tiny shop cluster near the main crossroads. In larger settlements (1,000-3,500 people), administrative and commercial sites (café, bus/taxi, hotel, Market, bank, farmácia, post office) circle a central praça, often next to the island's port of entry. At festa time, parades, music, and feasting fill the streets and strings of lights identify parish neighborhoods. Rural farmsteads are built of stone and have whitewashed stucco exteriors, with structural features brightly outlined in red or black. Broad eaves, lowpitched roofs of russet pantile, and a large wedge-shaped chimney are designed to ventilate the interior oven workspace. Outside is a small open barn with a cruciform frame under thatch for drying maize. Urban doors and windows are framed by black basalt in fifteenth-century Manueline (Romanesque) style of heavy masonry construction of black and white lava stone. Multistoried townhouses—residues of the colonial era—have wrought-iron balconies, ornamental shutters, and painted facades.

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