At the end of the 15th century the architect Pêro Anes was sent by king Manuel I to plan the cathedral of Funchal, that was finished in 1514.
It has a Gothic style, the roof with a Mudejar design in cedar wood.
The exterior walls are made of stone from Cabo Girão. Inside there's a silver processional cross, offered by the King and considered one of the masterpieces of Manueline metalwork.
John Paul II
Pope John Paul II visited Madeira, for the first (and last) time in May 12th 1991.
To celebrate the visit his statue was placed at the entrance of the cathedral.
Dr. Fernão Ornelas street
The nest of the city
Madeira (and Funchal) are so dedicated to tourism, that many places seem... too artificial, too well composed to achieve a good look, too... touristy.
The central area of town, its original quarter, gives an idea of authenticity, that helps to forget the general sensation.
One of the highlights in Funchal is the market, built during the dictatorship.
A lively place, shows the diversity of local production, obviously with flowers in evidence.
Inaugurated in 1940 in the central area of the city, it keeps playing a very important role in local distribution.
There are some recent but interesting tiles.
St João Evangelista
Built in the 17th century, this church evidences the transition from the European Mannerist style to Portuguese Baroque.
It gives a strong sensation of wealth and richness, with dense gilded decoration, large paintings and tiles contrasting with the simple external look.It is located in the centre of the city.
S. Tiago Church
S Tiago fort
Built in 1614, when Portugal was ruled by a Spanish king, it suffered several modifications until 1992, when it started being used as contemporary art museum.
The museum was moved to Calhetas, and the fort will reopen as an interpretation center
Santa Maria quarter
João Fernandes Zarco
Madeira was discovered by a navigator called João Fernandes Zarco.
So, it's without any surprise that we see his statues in evidence, in the historical centre of the city.
Two styles, two tastes, the same respect!
Sea (Mar) avenue
Customs building (Alfândega)
Customs office used, for almost 500 years, a beautiful building that houses today the regional Parliament.
In the middle of last century a new and larger building was constructed facing the sea, following the project of a famous Portuguese architect - João Faria da Costa.
The nicest detail is a big statue, well integrated in the facade that seems conceived to protect it.
St. Lourenço fort
Initially built as a fortress in the 16th century, this big building was used as a defensive place but also as a palace.
It was the central and decisive point in many political and military events, with a very rich history.
Neglected in the beginning of last century, it was used as a base to a revolution in 1931, and, classified as a national monument in 1943 it is now used as the residence of the Minister of the Republic.
A modern statue celebrating peace conceived in 1988 by Manuela Aranha, was supposed to be erected in Autonomia square, but hard polemics forced to transfer it two years later to its local place, now called "Praça da Paz (Peace)".
To its initial location another statue was transferred from the access to the airport.
The centre of the area called Monte is the fountain square, a place where everybody gathers, after parking in the few slots in the area.
Street souvenirs vendors surround the small fountain in marble, built as a small chapel in the 19th century.
Recently the falling of a tree killed several people during local festivities
Once upon a time there was a fountain that gave name to the square - Largo da Fonte.
One day, in 1896, a big tree felt and destroyed it. In location people decided to build immediately a tiny chapel dedicated to the Holy Virgin, "baptized" "Fonte da Virgem".
Despite its modesty, it is a very respected place to locals.
One of the highlights in Funchal is the descent from Monte to the centre, in a sliding basket controlled by two men.
The speed is high in some places, but the descent is safe, though some turnings demand great effort from the men.
It is not cheap, but people don't care, and continuously we see a truck unloading the baskets collected at the end, to enter the line.
A Baroque church from the 18th century, with a long staircase, is a good sightseeing point over the bay.
It has some interesting golden pieces, and the tomb of Charles Habsburg, emperor of Austria, dead in Madeira during the exile.
Nearby is the starting point to the sliding baskets.
He was the last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the last Emperor of Austria, the last King of Hungary, the last King of Bohemia and Croatia, the last King of Galicia and Lodomeria and the last monarch of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.
He was Charles I as Emperor of Austria and Charles IV as King of Hungary from 1916 until 1918.
Failing to restore the monarchy, he was exiled in Madeira in 1921, where he died a few months later. Buried in Monte church, he deserved the beatification by the Catholic Church. His statue stands in front of the church.
Pico do Areeiro
Madeira is for a long time managed to tourism, betting in a good image of the island.
Flowers are an easy and useful detail to embellish it, and the island display many gardens with great quality. Even in the wild, we may see flowers everywhere, some of theme endemic, and some other so extensively displayed that, I think, there were human hands helping nature. Good taste, of course.
I've never been there in May for the festivities of flowers, but the references are great.
Curral das Freiras
I've been in the war, in Angola, where I met a soldier, so primitive that he got sick anytime we forced him to take a bath (true!).
He was from Madeira, and the first time he saw the sea, was when he went to Funchal to join the army. Of course, the army provided him his first bed. Unbelievable, isn't it?
No! In a short drive from Funchal it´s possible to imagine the enclosure of many people, and their life constraints.
Curral das Freiras is the best example, and... my God... with a breathtaking landscape.