According to Nazaré council, this week the attraction broke the barrier of two million visitors to the space, which has become “a global reference for the excellence it offers in the contemplation of nature, especially big waves at Praia do Norte, a mandatory stop for surfers and international competitions”.
The fort, also known as the lighthouse, opened to regular public visits in 2015 and has been, since 2017, owned by the municipality that manages the space where the Canhão da Nazaré Interpretive Center is located, the “Surfer Wall” museum project, dedicated to big waves.
The Nazaré Canyon Interpretive Center was opened in May 2015, aimed at transmitting scientific information about the phenomenon that generates giant waves, through monitoring and forecasting oceanographic and meteorological conditions on Monican buoys, a model of the Nazaré Canyon and images and information about the German submarine U-963, sunk off the town.
The “Surfer Wall” was started in 2016, in “recognition of athletes who seek to overcome personal goals in the waves of Praia do Norte and who, in this way, promote Nazaré around the world”, says a note from municipal press.
The S. Miguel Fort was built in 1577 by King D. Sebastião, who determined to build a fortification to defend the fishing village. The monument was later remodelled and expanded in 1644, at the behest of D. João IV, who ordered the installation of a limestone image of Saint Michael the Archangel, with the caption “El Rey Dom Juan-1644”.
The building survived the French invasions, was part of the history of liberal struggles and suffered acts of vandalism by liberals, who attacked the stone image of St. Michael, still defaced today. In 1903, no longer having a military function, the fort benefited from works to install a lighthouse, which began operating in December of that year.
The fort opens daily, from 10:00 to 18:00 (last entry at 17:30).