Funchal, the capital of Madeira, is situated on the south coast of the island, on a beautiful bay of the same name. It was awarded its first charter in the mid-15th century, and its name comes from fennel (funcho), an aromatic herb common in this region. The city became an important trading post, first with the trade in sugar cane and bananas and then due to Madeira wine, and it was a key stopping point for maritime expansion voyages. Rich in history, cosmopolitan, and with a fantastic life of its own.
Funchal today has much to see and admire, beginning with the historic center of its parishes, such as Sao Pedro or Santa Maria and Sé, which are very interesting to walk around. Funchal also has a strong cultural life, including museums and other cultural amenities of similar interest. Since Funchal is known as a "garden by the sea", we cannot fail to mention its green spaces, such as the Botanical Gardens and the Garden of the Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro, both containing plants from the four corners of the world. In the city center, you can stroll towards Funchal Marina and watch the yachts and, further ahead, the cruise ships, coming from various points of departure.
Located in the heart of old town Funchal, the “Mercado dos Lavradores” (Farmer ́s Market) is a place that overflows color, aroma, sound, and tradition. Inaugurated in 1940, the “Mercado dos Lavradores” was built to provide the island ́s inhabitants with a central location to buy and sell local products. With a covered area of 9,600m2, this structure ́s main entrance is decorated with hand-painted azulejos (tiles) all displaying regional themes. Also, at the main entrance you will find women dressed in the Madeira traditional costume selling flowers. Walking into the market you will find yourself on the first floor where fresh exotic fruits, vegetables, spices and herbs, leather and wicker are sold. To experience the combination of these exotic scents is worthwhile visiting the market. Further into the market and walking down steps to the ground floor you will stumble into the area where fresh meat and fish such as “peixe espada preta”, tuna, octopus and lapas (mussels) are sold. The areas surrounding the market are quite pleasant as well. Stop for a minute to watch locals bustling about, while others sit down at café patios sipping on expressos.
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