Nossa Senhora da Conceição do Ilhéu Fort

Arts Venue and Castle in Funchal (Madeira)

Nossa Senhora Da Conceicao Do Ilheu Fort
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Brisille

The Fortress of Nossa Senhora da Conceição was constructed on the Ilhéu Grande. It is commonly referred to as Forte do Ilhéu.  Its construction commenced in 1652 and the fortress was officially inaugurated two years later, in 1654. As the name suggests, this area was once an islet, but with the expansion of the port, it became joined to the mainland.

By 1682, a chapel dedicated to Nossa Senhora da Conceição was established on the site, leading to the islet being named after the chapel, hence the designation Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora da Conceição do Ilhéu.

It has an elevator built as part of the state works campaign of Rui Marote in 1845 and a crane that dates from the same year. The memory of João Gonçalves Zarco is indelibly linked to the fort, for it marks his first dwelling in Funchal.

As time progressed and Funchal developed, there arose a need for a port that could accommodate the city’s growing requirements. This need led to the islet being connected first to a smaller neighbouring islet and subsequently to the mainland, a project completed in 1888. This connection was instrumental in meeting the evolving infrastructural needs of the area.

Presently, the fort houses the Nini Andrade Silva Design Center, with exhibitions and a charming restaurant.

The Nossa Senhora da Conceição do Ilhéu Fort appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Funchal (Madeira)!

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Visiting Nossa Senhora da Conceição do Ilhéu Fort

Address: Estrada da Pontinha, Forte de Nossa Senhora da Conceição 9000-726 Funchal Portugal
Duration: 20 minutes

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