Culture

St James Anglican Church
6 June, 2018 / , ,

In a city with such strong connections to the British community, getting to know the St James Anglican Church and the Cemetery of the British is to know a little more about this relationship that has lasted for centuries.

The links between Porto and the British are ancient and have become even more intense thanks to the Port wine trade. It was in 1671 that the Port Chaplaincy was founded, but since Protestants could not have places of worship or openly celebrate religious services at that time, English families residing in Porto met discreetly in private homes. They could not also be buried in Catholic cemeteries so they were buried on the banks of the Douro.

In 1787, the British consul John Whitehead was allowed to buy land outside the city limits to be used as a graveyard. In 1815 the church began to be built which would be completed three years later. Of Neoclassical character, it had works of enlargement in 1866/67 increasing the nave and turning into the shape of a cross.

Surrounded by a wall – a requirement of the Portuguese authorities during its construction – the property also includes the cemetery. Here are buried members of the Forrester family, English airmen who lost their lives when flying over Portuguese territory during World War II and the Consul John Whitehead. The church and the cemetery can be visited.

Information:

Largo da Maternidade Júlio Dinis, 45

Website: www.stjamesoporto.org

 

From traditional transport to symbol of a region
6 June, 2018 / ,

Rabelo Boat is one of the major symbols of Porto and the Douro. Originally created in the 18th century for the transportation of the Port wine barrels, between the Alto Douro wine-growing lands and the Ribeira do Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. Today, this traditional boat is preserved in the cities memory and constitutes a privileged element of the tourism in the region.

Due to the inexistence of appropriate road and rail routes, Rabelo Boat was the most reliable and exclusive means of transportation for the wine industry. It was generally manned by ten to twelve navigators and, if going towards the current, crews sought to ensure the stability of the most valuable product of the region’s trade over turbulent waters; otherwise, the vessels were taken by towpaths drawn by ropes along the banks of the Douro River.

Without keel, with a flat bottom and with a length of between 19 and 25 meters, it integrates a wooden structure called apégada and a long oar on the stern, the espadela, used to manoeuvre the boat.

The introduction of the Douro railways in the late nineteenth century and the development of roadways during the twentieth century dictated the decline of river traffic provided by Rabelo Boats.

Today, anchored on the banks of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, they are used exclusively for its recreational character in the famous Regatta de São João, on June 24 of each year, for the celebrations of popular festivals in the city of Porto.

An updated version of the original vessel was created to transport passengers on tours through the Douro. They are wooden boats, with the traditional appearance, but meet the safety and comfort conditions demanded today.

Burning of the Ribbons – The great party of Porto students
26 April, 2018 / , ,

From May 6 to 12 the Porto university students are celebrating and the city is invaded by a huge wave of color and joy. Concerts, a gigantic parade and other cultural activities involve more than 350,000 students.

The tradition stands for decades. For a week, Porto’s university students are partying, going out in the street with their academic apparel, black robes and their top hats, walking sticks and ribbons in the folders that bear the color of each course. The party begins with a monumental serenade, at midnight on Sunday, the 6th. On Tuesday, during the afternoon and night, the students walk the streets of the city in a procession that ends up involving their relatives, townspeople and tourists. The march begins next to the Rectory of the University of Porto and ends in the Aliados.

The Blessing of the folders Mass, which also takes place in the Aliados, is another high point of an intense program, which also includes concerts in the City Park.

Igreja de Santo Ildefonso
18 April, 2018 / , , ,

The church of Santo Ildefonso has about 11,000 tiles on the front and sides of the bell towers.

These tiles were designed by Jorge Colaço, who also created the tiles of São Bento Station, and represent scenes from the life of Saint Ildefonso and the Gospel. They were placed only in 1931, but the construction of the church is much older.

The church of Santo Ildefonso began to be constructed in 1709, the first phase (still without the bell towers) being completed in 1730. In the interior there are eight stained glass windows and a retable in carved baroque and rococo of the first half of the 18th Century by Nicolau Nasoni. When visiting this church, located in the middle of downtown Porto, do not forget to pay attention to two large canvases measuring 5.80 x 4.30 meters, suspended on the side walls, painted between 1785 and 1792.

In the area of the choir there is a pipe organ of the early nineteenth century, which has been restored. The church also has vestiges of an old cemetery, discovered during the restoration works of recovery executed in 1996.

It was from the staircase of this church that in 1891 shots were fired that would end the revolution that was the first attempt of the implantation of the Republic in Portugal.

Majestic – From the splendor of Belle Époque to the jewel of the city
29 March, 2018 / , ,

In Rua de Santa Catarina, in the city
centre, Majestic is a must stop for those
who visit Porto. The privileged location,
the facade and the decoration make this a
unique venue in the city.

 

The space was inaugurated on the 17 of December
of 1921, but at that time it was called Elite.
Designed by the architect João Queirós, it functioned
as a kind of private club; with the change of name
to Majestic, it became a meeting point for the high
society, bohemians and intellectuals. Throughout its
history would be place of social gatherings, a point
of passage of artists that visited the city as well as
for statesmen and celebrities.
With the advent of World War II the cafe would enter
a period of decadence, the sale of its very rich estate
going to auction.
During the restoration carried out in the 1990s,
only wall fixtures, mirrors (from Antwerp) and
sofas were kept. Replicas of some pieces which had
disappeared were made so that the original spirit
could be maintained.
Since the mid-90s the Majestic has won a unique
place in the heart of Porto residents and tourists,
and has also won several international awards.

 

The space
The Majestic is a superb example of Art Nouveau,
featuring an imponent marble façade with three
elegant porches facing Rua de Santa Catarina. In the
interior, the great mirrors, the metal candelabras the
sculptures in stucco stand out.
The interior courtyard, built in 1925, was designed
as a winter garden. There was a time when there
was a window facing Rua de Passos Manuel, where
newspapers and tobacco were sold. In this courtyard
there are concerts during the summer, but all year
round the Majestic is also a cultural space, thanks to
the grand piano and the painting exhibitions on the
lower floor, which was once a billiard room.

Curiosities:
J. K. Rowling was a frequent patron of the
Majestic cafe when she lived in Porto and it is
believed that she started working on the book
“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”
there.
Former Brazilian President Juscelino Kubitschek
responded as follows when asked what he most
liked about his visit to Portugal: “Well … it was
Majestic … after all I am also a child of God … !!!”

Cooperativa Árvore – A house that breathes art
2 March, 2018 / , ,

In an old noble house in the 60s, near Passeio das Virtudes and with a stunning view over the Rio Douro, Árvore – Cooperative of Artistic Activities was born as a space for the disclosure of art, idealized by Porto’s greatest names in art.

Árvore was founded in 1963 by artists, writers, architects and intellectuals, highlighting Master José Rodrigues, sculptor and author of the famous Ribeira Cube.  He, along with Armando Alves, Pulido Valente and Ângelo de Sousa, got together in an abandoned quinta and began the recovery of the building, adapting it to its new cultural functions.

The gallery and the auditorium were inaugurated in 1971. Despite having been through hardships, which, for instance, forced some of its estate’s artistic work to be auctioned, Árvore survived and has undeniably pronounced the artistic panorama of the city of Porto.

The institution has an intense cultural agenda with exhibitions, conferences, lectures and talks, workshops, competitions, book editing and art installations.  Its purpose is to produce, promote and sell artistic and editorial works, and the development and information of members and the general public in the areas of visual art, the study of art and other areas of production. In the past few decades it welcomed colloquiums, cinema cycles, theatre and music and it presented the work of hundreds of painters, sculptures, photographers, designers and architects. In addition to the exhibitions, you can visit the store, the offices of screen-printing techniques, engraving, lithograph and ceramic (booking in advance required) and enjoy an unrivaled view to the Douro from your garden.

The House
José Pinto de Meireles ordered the construction of the Árvore building, which was concluded in 1763. The family crest can still be seen on the front door. The quinta and the gardens were constructed so those who went by the Rio Douro could see them.

Today, they are a privileged viewpoint and a very enjoyable place to spend a late afternoon, especially in the summer.

Exhibitions to see at Árvore:

  • 23rd February to 3rd April– Emerenciano + Helena Jalles

 

Information:

Rua Azevedo de Albuquerque, 1, Porto

Schedule

Monday to Friday: 9.30-20:00

Saturday – 15:00-19:00

Closed: Sundays and bank holidays

 

 

 

João Queiroz – Baixa’s architect
7 February, 2018 / , ,

Café Majestic is perhaps his most emblematic work. João Queiroz always worked alone in a small workshop in the Baixa do Porto, and helped define the aesthetics of one of the most famed areas of the city.

He was born in Porto in 1892, and lived all of his youth in a house in Rua de Santa Catarina in front of where Café Majestic currently stands. At the time, those grounds were filled with mulberry trees which were essential for the production of silk. They would come to be occupied by buildings that would become essential to the story of the city, many of them with the architect’s mark.

He did his Preparatory Course of Drawing at the Escola de Belas Artes do Porto and, in 1926, after having worked at the General Board of Buildings and Monuments of the North, received his architect diploma. He would go back to studying at age 52, enrolling in the course of Urbanology which had been created that same year. As his academic and professional lives were influenced by two world wars, he also developed a strong military career and getting to the position of Captain. He was, in fact, known as Capitão (Captain) Queiroz.

His first project was of a rationalist building he created for his father, located at the Rua de Santa Catarina, in Porto. It was there where he established the workshop he always worked from.

His most famed building was unquestionably the Café Majestic, which was initially called Café Elite. When the owners of the café decided to create a window in the back for the sale of newspapers, they resorted to the architect’s services once again. Both the Cine Teatro Olímpia and the Cinema Trindade are likewise his creations; he was also the author of a project for the Coliseu do Porto which ended not being carried out.

Amongst his creations were also private housing and stores. One of the most innovative ones, number 54 at Rua de Santa Catarina, had a circular window display which at the time did not please the most conservative critics. As for housing, number 65 at Rua António Aroso and number 315 at Rua António Patrício are the most conspicuous.

He died at the age of 90, on the 25th February 1982.

 

Galeria da Biodiversidade – Centro Ciência Viva
6 February, 2018 / , , , ,

Entirely dedicated to biodiversity, the Galeria da Biodiversidade – Centro Ciência Viva is so much more than a museum. This modern space, which combines science and art, is made to create unforgettable memories.  It hosts the photographic exhibition Photo Ark up until the end of April

The center integrates the Museu de História Natural e da Ciência da Universidade do Porto (MHNC-UP) (Natural History and Science Museum of the University of Porto), which along with the Jardim Botânico (Botanical Garden) represents one of the hubs connected to the University of Porto.

Located in the legendary Casa Andresen – which inspired the renowned Portuguese poet Sophia de Mello Breyner – the Galeria da Biodiversidade is also surrounded by the Botanical Garden, an equally mandatory stop for science lovers, It is a place where art meets biology and natural history, stimulating interactivity and sensorial experiences. The permanent exhibition integrates 49 very unique narrative modules and installations, organized by 15 main themes that approach several aspects within biological and cultural diversity. From mechanical models to multimedia platforms, there are several ways of bringing together the visitor and the stories told through science, literature and art.

 

 

Photographic Noah’s Ark

Until the 29th April, the Biodiversity Gallery hosts the National Geographic Photo Ark, based on a project from Joel Sartore.  This photographer set a goal 10 years ago: photograph all existing species held in captivity, to create one of the largest archives of biodiversity in the world. This “Photographic Noah’s Ark” is intended to create public awareness towards the conservation of vulnerable animals. The exhibition already pictures over 7000 species and you do not want to miss on seeing its greatest pictures here.

 

Information:

Galeria da Biodiversidade (Gallery of Biodiversity)

Rua do Campo Alegre, n.º 1191, Porto

Schedule: from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm

Regular Ticket: 5€

 

 

 

 

The pipe organs that have been operating since 1779
15 January, 2018 / , ,

The Historical Organs of the Clérigos continue to function perfectly, despite being more than 200 years old.

They were made by the Spanish Dom Sebastião de Acunha and, like the building in which they are inserted, are a notable example of the Baroque style that characterized the late eighteenth century. The box of the organ on the side of the epistle is surmounted by a moon; the side of the gospel is characterized by a sun. The unification of these two elements refers to the idea of ​​absolute and totality.

In 2015, these organs were played daily, always at the same time (at noon), often with the two historical organs simultaneously and sometimes with the participation of singers. These free concerts enchant the Porto residents and tourists and are another attraction for an already much sought after destination as well as being appreciated by those who visit the city.

In December 2017 Organ Concert # 1000 was celebrated. It was a special day, where two organists and a soprano were in attendance. But every day one can celebrate the long life of these historical pipe organs and enjoy their music.

Marques da Silva – The architect of Porto
10 January, 2018 / ,

His work definitely stamps the city of Porto. From private homes, schools and even the iconic monument, Marques da Silva has helped build a more modern and more beautiful city.

Born on Costa Cabral Street in Porto, he died in the same city in 1947. José Marques da Silva was born, lived and died in Porto, but Paris and French aesthetics influenced him most. He began studying at the Academia Portuense de Belas Artes, and later studied in École Nationale et Spéciale des Beaux-Arts.

He returned to Portugal in 1896, and almost immediately signed a project of great importance: the São Bento station. In fact, the Gare Central had been his final work in the Architecture course taken in Paris. However, the initial idea had to be reformulated successively, as the station would only be completed in 1916. Despite the fact that a work of such magnitude was handed to him – the city’s first railway station – demonstrates the prestige he already had in the early stages of his career. In 1900 he received a silver medal in the exhibition of Paris, which contributed to increase his national and international prestige.

Throughout his life, Marques da Silva signed several projects that modernized the face of the city. Rarely do you find buildings which fuse aesthetics with functionality and which are sprinkled throughout the city, from Baixa to Serralves.

He was also a professor and director at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Porto and the School of Applied Art Soares Reis. He was also the author of important works in Guimarães and Barcelos.

Some emblematic works in Oporto:

São Bento Station (1896-1916)

Building of the Four Seasons (1905), Rua das Carmelitas

Atelier Marques da Silva (1909), Marquês de Pombal Square

Monument of the Heroes of the Peninsular War (1909), Rotunda da Boavista

São João National Theater (1910-1920), in Praça da Batalha

Building of the Nascimento Department Stores, (1914-1927), corner of Rua de Santa Catarina and Passos Manuel

Lyceum Alexandre Herculano (1914-1931), on Avenida Camilo