|Portugal > Tourism > Costa Verde > Porto > The City
Facing the big lodges of port wine to which it gave its name across the river Douro, Porto is Portugal´s second largest city and there is a certain feeling of rivalry towards Lisbon. But although its ancient roots have been preserved with pride, a modern and lively commerce makes it a thriving city and its traditional importance as an industrial center does not diminish the charm and character of its old quarters or even of the newer and busy avenues, shopping centers and quiet residential blocks.
The Cathedral area deserves to be explored, with its various monuments, such as the Renaissance church of Santa Clara, and the densely populated quarter of Barredo, which appears not to have changed since medieval times. The riverside quarter of Ribeira is also delightful, with narrow streets, typical houses and picturesque life-style: it has been recently restored and now includes fashionable restaurants and bars. Equally lively and colourful is the market of Bolhão, where you can buy almost anything, but more elegant shops can be seen nearby, especially the jewelleries and leather goods shops in the Baixa (down-town).
Porto affords many other attractions, monuments and museums, as well as a cultural agenda which has been steadily improving. With a well-known gastronomy and hospitable population, it is also the starting point to explore the river Douro in an unforgettable journey upstream.
Cathedral Built in the 12th century,
in the Roman style, it was later modified for several times and the original
architecture was altered. Inside, it is worth admiring the paintings by
Nicolau Nasoni, the silver altarpiece of the Holy Sacrament, the João
Gordo ("Fat John") Chapel and the cloister. At the southern
tower, there are still two standard measures engraved in the stone, the
last vestiges of the Medieval fair which took place in the large Cathedral'
Clergymen Church and Tower A monument of the Baroque style, built between 1754 and 1763 by the Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni, Torre dos Clérigos became the emblem of Oporto. From the top of the Tower, six floors and 76 metres high, after climbing an endless spiral staircase with 225 stairs, the visitor enjoys dazzling views over the city, the river Douro and its estuary.
Carmo Church Situated close to the Clergymen Tower and Church (Igreja e Torre dos Clérigos), the Igreja do Carmo é remarkable construction, presenting an amazing panel of tiles on an exterior wall, representing scenes describing the foundation of the Carmelite Order.
Cedofeita Church It is a peculiar
church in the Portuguese Romanesque architecture, since it is the only
building with one single nave covered by a stone vault, which explains
the presence of massive exterior buttresses on the lateral walls. Spatially,
it comprises a nave and a quadrangular top separated by a crossing that
stands on calcareous capitals.
Lapa Church The Pope Benedito XIV set the Brotherhood of the Nossa Senhora da Lapa in 1755. The following year the current church was founded, its first stone having been laid on 17 July. This new building would replace a chapel and house the devoted ones that went there seeking shelter.
Santo Ildefonso Church The church was constructed from 1709 on since the first church was in ruins. It was concluded in 18 July 1739. The nave is of polygonal type in proto-baroque style. Above the entablature there is a niche with the patron saint. It has steeple towers with dentils on the cornices, topped on each side by fantasy spheres and frontons. The walls are decorated with tiles by Jorge Colaço (1932), depicting scenes from the life of St. Ildefonso and allegories from the Eucharist.
S. Francisco Church
The São Francisco Church is one of the few remaining medieval buildings in Porto. Also, it is the only Gothic church in the city. It was part of a Franciscan convent and its construction lasted from the late 14th century until the early 15th century. The medieval architectonic programme went through several occasional changes but its structure remained unaltered. Diogo de Castilho, following the instructions of João Carneiro, built the Carneiros Chapel, or the Chapel of the Baptism of Christ, in the 16th century. The new main
|portal was built in the following century and had baroque characteristics. In the 17th and 18th centuries the interior of the church was completely covered with wood carvings, forming a sort of golden box. It is one of the most beautiful baroque interiors in the country. Although the wood carvings do not present a stylistic coherence, their great quality, which was the fruit of the best workshops in Porto, makes up a selection that enables the observation of its evolution. It is a true museum of gilt wood carving in the city.
S. Bento Station Built on the site of
an ancient convent, it was completed in 1916. Now, only regional trains
pass through here. Inside, the immense panels of tiles creted by Jorge
Colaço, reproducing historical scenes, add a rare artistic beauty
to the station.
Stock Exchange Palace Baroque 18th century construction by Nicolau Nasoni. Worthy of notice are the church's interior decorated with Baroque-rococo gilt carvings, the polychromatic retable by Manuel Porto and the impressive 75.60-metres tower.
Ponte D. Luís I (D. Luís I Bridge) In accordance with the Law of 11/02/1879, the government determined the
of the competition for the "construction of a metal bridge over the
Douro River, in the place considered the most convenient in front of the
city of Porto, for the replacement of the current suspended bridge".
The winning proposal was the project of engineer Teófilo Seyrig,
from the Belgian company Societé de Willebroeck. Teófilo
Seyrig had already been the author of the plan and head of the team in
the project of the Ponte D. Maria Pia (D. Maria Pia Bridge) as Eiffel's
associate. This time he was the sole responsible for this work of the
new and grand Ponte D. Luís I (D. Luís I Bridge). The construction
works began in 1881 and the inauguration occurred on 31 October 1886).
The arch comprises 172m of cord and is 44.6m tall.
Ribeira The genuine city is visible at the quarter of Ribeira ("River-bank"), right by the river. Narrow and winding streets, dark arcades, typical houses with colourful façades set in a place which preserves the charm of sites marked by history, full of contrasts and curious characteristics. At night, the Ribeira acquires liveliness and animation, being one of the most sought after spaces, due to the numerous and pleasant restaurants, esplanades and nightclubs.
The Port Wine Museum Located
in an 18th century warehouse where the wines of Companhia Geral da Agricultura
das Vinhas do Alto Douro were once stored. This Museum aims to be an information
centre about the Port wine, motivating visitors to discover the commercial
history of the city relating it to this worldwide
Casa do Infante (House of the Prince) or Casa da Alfândega Velha (Old Custom House). Since then the services of the Municipal Archive are located there. The Archive promoted
a project of study and of deep remodelling of the building. An important Roman palace as well as better knowledge of ancient royal buildings from the 14th century to present days were the
result of the research carried out. The relevance of the archaeological finds led to the creation
of a site museum situated by the Archive and a small Tourist Office. The architectural project to remodel and update the Archive was designed by the architect Nuno Tasso de Sousa.
Romantic Museum of Quinta da Macieirinha The
Museum reproduces the interior of a rich dwelling of the 19th century.
Some aspects of the decorative arts of that period are worthy of notice.
Charles Albert, King of Piedmont and Sardinia, spent his last days in exile here, where he died on 28 July 1843. In his memory, some of the rooms he inhabited were restored.
Soares dos Reis National Museum The Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis, former Museu Portuense and first art museum in Portugal, was born in 1833, when D. Pedro IV of Portugal decided to establish in
|the city of Porto a Museu de Pinturas e Estampas
(Paintings and Prints Museum). The aim of the foundation of this Museum
was the preservation of the artistic heritage that came mainly from extinct
convents, and the simultaneous promotion of its use for cultural and pedagogical
purposes. The Museum has been settled since 1940 in the Palacio dos Carrancas,
currently considered a public interest property, and it was built in the
late 18th century, by a wealthy family of Porto.
Misericordia museum The treasure of the Museum includes the Benefactor's Gallery and the "Fons Vitae" - a Flemish painting from the Brussels workshop (1520).
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Beta Porto A modern 4 star Hotel just a few minutes from the
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Pestana Porto Situated in the Praça da Ribeira, heart
of the historical centre of Porto and constructed on part of the mediaeval
city wall, the Hotel Pestana Porto forms part of a block of town houses
dating from the XVI, XVII and XVIII centuries.
|Portugal > Tourism > Costa Verde > Porto > The City