Due to this lack of global expansion and its relative isolation from the rest of Europe’s continent, it allowed many old-fashioned buildings and culturally significant sites to be preserved, instead of possibly being demolished due to urbanization. In 1980 the island was hit by a devastating earthquake that had caused tables to shake all the way to Ireland. It is here in the Mid-Atlantic where an underwater ridge exists, where 3 of the World’s tectonic plates meet, often referred to as the Terceira-rift. The deadly earthquake devastated the region. Many of the historic buildings were destroyed, and the city had to rebuild with UNESCO’s assistance. During this time of mourning, it also helped initiate subsequent laws to preserve and limit the damage of the cities’ culturally and historically meaningful sites and fortifications.
The restaurants in the city are known for their outstanding farm-fresh food with everything from the bread, dairy, grains, vegetables, and meat all produced locally on the island, without any GMOs in the agricultural sector allowed. This allows a unique, healthy diet mixed with influences of local and various distinct regions of Portugal to intertwine and bring a delicious variety of flavors and tastes. The island of Terceira has always been an island based on agriculture and although in recent years, with the downsizing of the U.S. Air Force base at Lajes, the Government both in the Azores and in Portugal; with influence from the E.U., have pushed to make this island a technology base, similar to that of Ireland. The island’s population is more interested in farming, fishing and although the services and technology sector plays a role in the economy, the interest or desire to erase 500 years of culture and tradition is not something that has been embraced fully by the local residents. The actions by the Government and various agencies to push the island to be marketed as “Terceira Tech Island” in recent years, to encourage young startups to come to the region has had mixed effects on both sides. The Government was even offering hundreds of free housing, minimum salaried jobs amongst other benefits just to encourage tech gurus to move to the region. The desire to turn a region which has always been known and recognized for its agricultural and fishing sectors, and to transform it into a technology hub, has seen mixed results.