Sete Cidales Caldera, Azores

photo of Sete Cidales Caldera, Azores

Sete Cidades on San Miguel Island, in the Azores, is one of the most beautiful calderas in the world. Its major eruption and collapse occurred about 22,000 years ago, and there have been many smaller but prehistoric eruptions since that time. But the Earth abides, and the caldera now contains a graceful lake, many farms and forests, and a pastoral village. There are legends about Sete Cidades -- The Seven Cities -- that tell about an ancient magical kingdom within the circular valley that would vanish when explorers who had once visited the place would try to find it again.

Photo copyright R. W. Decker

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