Fort of Santa Cruz
The fort of Santa Cruz (1583-1606) was the most important and oldest construction of the island. Its dominant position over the Velas bay was aimed for the village’s defence against attacks of pirates and privateers. This fort is nearby the Fort of N. Sra da Conceição.
Between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the East side of this fort served as the premises of a factory which melted sperm whales’ fat, a process integrated in whaling, an economic activity practiced between 1882 and 1984 in the Azores.
Nowadays, in this location, it is possible to observe a pentagonal bastion, with sealed cannons, built in basalt and tuff masonry. Damião Pego reports that the Fort of Santa Cruz comprised 10 cannons and a wide guard house. Its destruction was due to the great floods of 1899, which also destroyed the Fort of N. Sra. da Conceição. Currently, part of the fort harbours the Naval Club and has been reused as a location to store fuel.