Vila de Porto Santo (Vila Baleira)

Vila de Porto Santo (Vila Baleira)

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Vila de Porto Santo is the capital and largest settlement of the island of Porto Santo. The city has merged with Vila Baleira, the western part of town and is often referred to as 'Vila'. Most of the island's inhabitants live in Vila.

Vila Baleira was founded by Bartolomeu Perestrelo, who was Porto Santo's first governor. In the 15th century, Porto Santo was a profitable colony, where cereals, wines and sugar was produced, as well as dyestuffs from the sap of dragon trees.

Some of these trees survive in Vila Baleira's main square, which is called Largo do Pelourinho. The square also boasts the 16th-century town hall with a nice parish-church alongside it. The church has been heavily restored and only one small chapel survives from the original 15th-century Gothic original. Next to town hall is Rua Infante D. Henrique, which is Vila's main street, leading straight to the beach, the objective of most visitors.

In the street behind the church is Casa de Colombo, which is reputedly the house where Christopher Columbus lived during his stay on Porto Santo, although there is no hard evidence for that. The building offers a wide range of books about the discoverer of the Americas.

Vila de Porto Santo and Vila Baleira are on Porto Santo's southern coast. There are daily ferry connections with the nearby island of Madeira.


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