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The coat-of-arms of Altares
The flag of Altares

Altares is a parish in the municipality of Angra do Heroísmo on the island of Terceira in the Azores. The population in 2001 was 884, its population density was 33.9/km², and the land area is 26.04 km². It is one of the oldest parishes of the island, having been founded sometime before the year 1480. The word, "Altares", is a contraction of the words, Altos Ares, meaning "mountain breezes".

The lay of the land

The parish is located in the northwestern part of the island, about 19 kilometres from the city of Angra do Heroísmo. It is bounded on the east by the parish of Biscoitos, which belongs to the municipality of Praia da Vitória, on the west by the parish of Raminho, on the north by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the south and southwest by the caldera of the Santa Bárbara volcano and by the parish also called Santa Bárbara.

Altares is located on a hillside, and it encompasses a good deal of the north slope of the Serra de Santa Bárbara massif, from the northern and western edges of the caldera of Santa Barbara to the seaside cliffs on the north coast of the island. Topographically, the parish is bounded on the east by the course of the Ribeira do Pamplona (River Pamplona), which also serves as a limit to the municipality of Angra do Heroísmo, and on the west by a line drawn from the 827-metre summit of Pico Rachado ("cracked summit") to the sea. First, this line follows the course of the Ribeira dos Gatos (River of Cats), but then it diverts to the west to include the hamlet of Cerro da Ribeira dos Gatos, a ridge of hills, and miscellaneous buildings.

The territory of the parish rises gradually from the coast, first as a relatively gentle slope, but at an increasingly rugged grade as one approaches the heights of the Serra de Santa B√°rbara, where five streams have their sources: the Gatos, the S√£o Roque, the Lajinhas, the Lapa, and the Pamplona.

Seaside farms in Altares

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