Camara de Lobos

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May, 2019

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Camara de Lobos is an attractive fishing village 7 miles west of Funchal. It is on a sheltered bay with an with small boats pulled up on the beach. Bright red Bougainvillea tumbles down the wall above the beach. It is very popular with tourists and is heavily promoted in the tourist literature as it was a popular painting spot for Sir Winston Churchill when in Madeira.

It is still a working port, specialising in the night time fishing of espada, the black scabbardfish, which is sold at the local fish market in the concrete building on the harbour. A small lighthouse on top of a rock at the end of the harbour guides the boats back in.

The quayside is lined with small cafes and bars and is a popular spot for lunch. Low white buildings with orange pantile roofs climb up the valley sides. The village has grown rapidly with a lot of new development on the outskirts.

The busy main shopping street runs round the bay. Unusually there are few shops aimed specifically at tourists. Narrow cobbled street run off this down to the harbour.

Igreja Matriz de Sao Sebastiao is in the centre of the old town, near the harbour. Its tower with black and white chequered top is a characteristic landmark. It is frequently confused with the tiny “Capela de Nossa Senhora da Concelcao,”: the fisherman’s Church just behind the harbour.

The original church of Sao Sebastiao was built in 1426, but was extended and remodelled in the C17th and C18th as the population grew. It is a typical black and white Madeira church with Baroque interior,
with a central nave and side aisles reached through low arches. These contain small side altars, and there are larger altars at the ends of the aisles. As in many Madeiran churches, the base of the walls are lined with blue, white and yellow azulejo tiles. Chandeliers hang from the painted ceiling.

The chancel is a wonderful example of gilded Baroque work, with a massive high altar, which covers all of the east wall. Behind a statue of St Sebastian is a massive tabernacle topped by Christ on the cross. The side walls are covered with large paintings in gilded frames.

There are smaller but very attractive Baroque altars on either side of the chancel arch.
The high altar covers the east wall and is covered with gilded carving. Behind a statue of St Sebastian is a massive tabernacle topped by Christ on the cross.

It was a Sunday when I visited and I sat quietly at the back of the church admiring the architecture until Mass finished.

There are more pictures “here.”:


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