Fajã da Ovelha

Fajã da Ovelha

”Protected” by an islet

 

The name Fajã da Ovelha is believed to be owed to the fact that, once upon a time, a shepherd lost a sheep (ovelha) in the fajã – a kind of platform, which in this case the sedimentation made possible to be used by men – and that episodes such as this would have been the origin of the civil parish such as we know today.

Fajã da Ovelha, like most civil parishes on the Island, originated from a very old chapel, whose patron saint was São Lourenço. Resembling what happened in the rest of the country, and in the catholic world in general, people started living around the temple, creating with time a populated area.

Just before 1573, Fajã da Ovelha was established, with an autonomous ecclesiastic parish.

The oldest official document concerning this ecclesiastic parish dates back to 1553. In it, reference is made to the church of Fajã da Ovelha, the name by which the place was already known.

It is due to this document that one believes that the name of this place has always been Fajã da Ovelha, since the beginning of the colonization or even since the time the head of a new ecclesiastic parish was established.

In the beginning of the 18th century, Infanta D. Catarina, Princess Regent of the Kingdom, allowed the permission to build a new temple. Historians believe that it was built in the place of the old slope, where the civil parish is located today.

The construction of the parish church did not take place straight away, and it was finished in mid 18th century. The new temple had São João Baptista as its patron saint.

This is a quiet and sunny civil parish. The church has a belvedere, from which we can admire the part of the rock which, according to tradition, Saint Amaro protects the place, so that it does not “fall into the sea”.

As someone once wrote, Fajã da Ovelha deserves the interest of the curious visitor longing to revive the characteristics of the past, which is kept here by the quietness of the present.
Fajã da Ovelha has a population of about 1340 inhabitants.

The main economic activity of the civil parish is agriculture. Other important activities include: bread making, building construction, dairy produce, general trade, services and cattle breeding.

 

How to Get There

 

To get to Fajã da Ovelha from Funchal you need to take the freeway in the direction of Ribeira Brava (Funchal-Ribeira Brava). Take the Ribeira Brava turnoff. Follow the signposts towards Calheta and Fajã da Ovelha, which is located further ahead, towards the most western part of Madeira Island.


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Monumentos Arquitectónicos, Conventos, Igrejas, Capelas, Fortes e Fortalezas

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