Curiosities

Apolo Terrasse – The forgotten movie theater
7 November, 2019 / , , ,

Few remember this movie theater, built at the beginning of the 20th century and demolished in the late 1940s to give way to the current Rua de Ceuta. The Apolo Terrasse came at a time when the cinema was gaining popularity.

At first, the films started out by being projected in shacks or in arge stores in the city, but, as the public’s interest increased and the film production
diversified, specific spaces for film viewing were built. Most of these places of entertainment are now just memories. One of them was the Apolo Terrasse, which was built in 1912. It was located where Rua de Ceuta is today and its main access was through Rua José Falcão. It had two more
entrances: one on the ground floor of a house in Rua de Santa Teresa and another through the middle of backyards that descended to Rua da Picaria. Despite its discreet location and decorative simplicity, the building stood out for its large, imposing iron structure, which served as a vestibule.

The Apolo Terrasse was also built so that it could be used for other types of shows and sporting events.
On the other hand, the two floor construction, connected by two staircases and lateral balconies, brought great concern due to fire prevention.
The lighting, made by globe-shaped lamps, was another element of modernity in this space.

Source: O Tripeiro, 7ª Série, Ano XXXV, Número 1,
janeiro e fevereiro de 2016.

Luís I Bridge: a sanitation issue
11 August, 2019 / ,

The Luís I bridge, one of the most emblematic structures of the city of Porto, was built in the 19th century and is now considered a World Heritage Site. However, in the mid-twentieth century, the bridge began to show disturbing signs of corrosion due, in particular, to the passage of the tram in the upper board of the bridge.

But there was another corrosion problem. At night, many of the men who frequented bars, both in Porto and Ribeira, used the end of the bridge board to pee.

In 1954, Edgar Cardoso was in charge of the recovery works of the bridge and arranged a brilliant solution to end the corrosion and the nauseating smell. The engineer, taking advantage of the color of the bridge, put metal plates with a slight fold at the end of the bridge tray. Which means that at night, anyone who sought to satisfy their needs in that same place would end up with the “pee”, directly, to their pants.

Discreet but effective, still to this day.

Duque da Ribeira – Symbol and meaning, witness and protagonist of the life of Ribeira
9 August, 2019 / , ,

If you stroll through the Ribeira area, which you will have to do if you come to Porto, it is very likely that you will cross the statue in honor of Deocleciano Monteiro (exact location is at Rua Cimo
do Muro, 12, next to Ponte D . Luís).
If the name tells you absolutely nothing, don’t worry! The same will happen to most people from Porto! But almost everyone will be able to tell you who the “Duque da Ribeira” was, a name by which he has always been and become known. In fact, it is the tradition that it was the mother herself who, in view of the difficulty in pronouncing the name Deocleciano, treated him as “Duke”.
Born in Porto on March 24, 1902 and died on November 9, 1996, the Duke was born and always lived in Ribeira, until his death, being an inseparable and absolutely charismatic figure throughout the twentieth century.

At only 11 years old, he saved a person from drowning in the river. Since then, this heroic brand has never left him, despite his modesty and extreme humility.
The Duke grew up in the river, where all his life there was a boatman. He knew the Douro, its waters, its currents, its life, like no one else! This, coupled with his courage and physical agility and the fact that he is an excellent swimmer, has allowed him throughout his life to save many people from drowning in the sometimes treacherous waters of the river and in other cases from rescue the bodies of those who lost their lives there. Hundreds of people owe their lives – literally – to Duque da Ribeira!
He was also responsible for teaching many children from Ribeira to swim!
Docker, sailor and even actor !, the Duke’s popularity was immense, and it is no wonder that his autograph book contains the signatures of several presidents of the republic and even Queen Elizabeth II of England!

For all this, and finally, a warning: if you venture into the waters of the Douro, do so carefully! We no longer have our Duke guarding the river! He who, according to Mestre José Rodrigues’ bust that would forever perpetuate on the banks of the Douro his memory and the tribute of the city, was “symbol and meaning, witness and protagonist of Ribeira life”.

Did you know that… Parque da Cidade of Porto is the only urban park in Europe with a seafront?
8 August, 2019 / ,

With a total area of 83 hectares and around 10km, Parque da Cidade of Porto is the largest urban park in the country and the only one in Europe with a seafront.

The park was designed by the landscape architect Sidónio Pardal, having been inaugurated in 1993 (1st phase) and finished in 2002. In the year 2000, the park was selected by the Ordem dos Engenheiros as one of the “100 most notable works built in the 20th century in Portugal”.

Between lakes, varied fauna and flora, Parque da Cidade also hosts complementary equipment such as Pavilhão da Água and Queimódromo.

Sereias Stairs
29 June, 2019 / ,

Between Largo da Alfândega and Rua da Bandeirinha, there is a path that reveals the secrets of the old part of the city of Oporto.

The Sereias Stairs, in the popular neighborhood of Miragaia, took the name of the neighboring Sereias Palace. The palace of the mid-eighteenth century was a city residence to the family Cunha Osório Portocarrero and owes its name to the large sculptures that adorn its façade.

From the bustle of traffic on the Arrábida Bridge to the tranquility of the Douro river, the top of the staircase allows us to feel the city and its sounds.

THE MESSENGER, by IRENE VILAR
13 February, 2019 / ,

A statue planted by the river that brings hope to the city of Porto

Irene Vilar was born in Matosinhos in 1930 and is the owner of a vast work in many countries such as Germany, South Africa, Brazil, Belgium, Holland and Macau. Distinguished throughout the life with several prizes, the artist affirmed itself in diverse areas like the sculpture, numismatics, medalhística and painting. It was about five decades of artistic production and affirmation that won him several prizes and distinctions

The artist had since very young a great connection to Foz do Douro, where she lived from the age of 19 and where she set up her atelier.

One of her most emblematic works is undoubtedly “The Messenger”. Sculpture in bronze – one her materials of choice -, expressionistic, majestically marks the bank of the Douro River next to Cais de Sobreiras, in Foz do Douro.

Inaugurated in 2001, “The Messenger”, or “The Angel” as is commonly known by the people of Porto, brought, according to the author ” good hope to the city of Porto.” Maybe that’s why it has become almost a place of worship, where people lay flowers and candles at its feet.

Irene Vilar died at the age of 77 in 2008.

Hidden Porto
9 January, 2019 / , , ,

Cities are built over cities. This is an idea that both archeologists and architects notice in the reality of their daily work, which conditions them, motivates them and is at the root of the future of any city.

Since humans became sedentary, that is, since the groups of nomadic hunter-gatherers in search of the best hunting grounds gave rise to permanent settlement in villages whose inhabitants began to live from agriculture and livestock, the type of housing was modified and became stable, with the adoption of materials such as adobe, brick and stone, in addition to wood, which has always been used.

We find this in settlements as old as Çatal Hüyük (Anatolia, southern Turkey) or Jericho (Palestine), perhaps the oldest known towns, built between 8,000 and 7,000 BC, and where constructions have been succeeded, cities grown horizontally, but also at the expense of the overthrows of previous constructions, often taking advantage of their foundations to build new ones.

Porto hasn’t surely been any different. But those who fly over it, who come from the other riverside or who cross their streets and observe their houses, do not have this perception and see only what their eyes catch, the streets, houses, buildings, infrastructures, not remembering that this isn’t just our city, but our grandparents’ and other ancestors’ as well.

Those, their cities, are sometimes buried beneath ours, and at a time when Porto vibrates with its recovery, especially with the recovery of its Historical Center, signs of these “cities” that preceded us are exposed.

Perhaps the earliest ruins are found in the building of the no. 5 in Rua D. Hugo, behind the Porto Cathedral, where it was possible to trace an occupation with signs from the 8th century BC, with round houses. To that, other houses overlap, these ones quadrangular, of the Roman period.

Another fantastic example of how the city was built is provided by the archaeological excavations of Casa do Infante, already in a low part of the city, in which a large and luxurious Roman and late Roman house (IV-VI centuries) are superimposed to the medieval buildings, with the construction of the King’s warehouses, the Royal Customs Building and Casa da Moeda, with its occupation and successive enlargements lasting throughout the Modern and Contemporary Age.

But the example that we’re going to bring up is equally representative: in the works of a building with fronts to Rua de S. Francisco and to Rua Nova da Alfândega, where the former company of transits A. J. Gonçalves de Moraes was located, excavations shown signs of the nineteenth century city, more specifically the old Quarter of Baths.

Landed during the great urban transformation inherent to the construction of the Alfândega Nova building (1860-1870), construction of Rua Nova da Alfândega and Rua Ferreira Borges, which led to the destruction of the Monastery of S. Domingos, the old quarter of Baths was buried under 5 meters of rubble.

The excavations showed another facet of the city, a poorly-known riverfront area, which began at the beach already described by Ranulfo de Granville in 1147 and where some of the city’s bathhouses were located, next to Rua dos Banhos.

It was one of those alleys, still with buildings on both sides, that was exposed. One of the houses, in front of the entrance door flanked by windows with iron bars, had a paved patio.

In a contiguous area, about a meter below, the strong foundation of what may have been the medieval building of the public baths. The diggings stopped there.

But the finding of Roman construction materials may indicate the presence of much older ruins…

 

Marcelo Mendes Pinto, archeologist and CITCEM researcher

Mass of the rooster, a Latin expression
28 December, 2018 / ,

Mass of the Rooster is the name given by Catholics to Mass celebrated on Christmas Eve that begins at midnight from December 24 to 25. The phrase “Mass of the Rooster” is specific to Latin countries and derives from the ancestral tale that at midnight on December 24, a rooster would have sung strongly, as never heard before from another similar animal, announcing the coming of the Messiah, son of God, Jesus Christ.

Another tale, of Spanish origin, says that before hitting the 12 rings of the bell at midnight on December 24, each farmer of the province of Toledo in Spain killed a rooster in memory of the one who sang when St. Peter denied Jesus three times, at the time of his death. The bird was then taken to the Church to be offered to the poor who thus saw their Christmas improve. It was customary, in some Spanish villages, to take the rooster to the church to sing during the Mass, signifying a harbinger of good harvests. But that was formerly because now this is forbidden.

The mass of the rooster is usually celebrated with great joy, as it is told in the text about the tradition of the Mass of the Igreja da Lapa.

Porto, a world of expressions
6 December, 2018 / ,

It never made sense to compare Porto with other cities in the world. The privilege of being able to eat a Francesinha in every corner and drink a beer in a terrace of the river is something that all that live here or visit us have access to. But there are details that distinguish one who is a true tripeiro: the very particular pronunciation and the unrivalled expressions.

If I had to say the first Porto expression I heard in my life, although it is impossible to say that it is true, it would have to be something I heard on the day of my birth. I could swear that the doctor, seeing my father in a state of ecstasy, would have approached, exclaiming, “Look, be careful or you’ll have a badagio.” But what is this, “to have a badagaio”? It’s as simple as saying, “Watch out or you’ll faint.”

But if you’d like another typical expression of Porto and that can help you in your stay: Jecos. It would be offensive to treat a dog, not knowing its name, just by dog. And that’s where the good manners of Porto come in: all dogs have names, they’re all Jecos. You already know if you hear “BE CAREFUL WITH THE JECO”, run.

And since there are not two without three, here’s a fundamental one for your stay in Porto: Fino. Fino is more than just beer. It is an instrument of conversation, an excuse to make plans.

The one who thinks that the people of Porto do not have an ID card of their own, is deceived. The pronunciation and the expressions of the North, are what makes us so unique, so different and at the same time so easily recognized.

 

Gomes Teixeira – The mathematician who could have been a priest
15 October, 2018 / , , ,

Gomes Teixeira, illustrious mathematician who would become the first rector of the University of Porto, only did not study Theology by mere chance.

Born in January 1851 in Armamar, he was soon distinguished by his intelligence and good grades obtained in all subjects. At that time, it was common for boys with good schooling to be referred to the Seminary, but the young man was also brilliant at Mathematics. Thus, when it was time to go to university, the family decided that it would be the good fortune to decide between Theology and Mathematics.

Luck dictated Mathematics and since he arrived at the University of Coimbra, Francisco Gomes Teixeira stood out by the maximum notes obtained. At the age of 20 he published his first work and in 1874 he finished the course with a grade of 20 values. Such a brilliant academic course would, naturally, have to lead him to a teaching career. He excelled at the University of Coimbra and at the Polytechnic Academy of Porto, which he would eventually direct.

In 1911 the University of Porto was founded and Gomes Teixeira was chosen to be its first rector. He died in Porto in 1933. After his death, three busts were made in bronze, later placed in his native land at the University of Porto and at the University of Coimbra.

Source: O Tripeiro 7ª Série Ano XIX nº1 e 7ª Série Ano XXX, Número 12