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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

The magic of Christmas in Lapa
5 December, 2018 / , , ,

If we ask different people what Christmas is like in Porto we will get different answers. They will say that it is the beauty of the Aliados Christmas tree, the color of the lights downtown, the frenzy of Santa Catarina, the Bolo Rei from different traditional pastries or the cod of a certain grocery store, which has been conceptualized by years of infallible service to the palate of Porto. All this is true, and there would be more to add. However, all this is part of something infinitely more important, all this underlines the joy of what Christmas really is, but it does not exhaust or overshadow it. Christmas is the birth of Christ, the proclamation of redemption, the celebration of God’s supreme trust in His people.

Living, or being in Porto, on this date makes it mandatory to witness to the way the city lives this significant moment of its spirituality. I venture to say that, at least once in my life, so as not to steal the limelight of other parishes, it is mandatory to participate in the extraordinary Missa do Galo in Lapa. Christmas is also magic, and magic is not incompatible with solemnity. The experience of the Missa do Golo in Lapa is just that, magical and solemn. Here, the spirit is awakened through the different senses in a sublime way. As the eyes marvel at the artistic richness of the Church and with the aesthetic rigor of the celebration, the scent of traditional incense reinforces the intensity of the moment and the music of extraordinary execution and delicate choice fills the time between words that give meaning to everything else. It is a unique experience!

The very special care put into this Mass, the strict observance of a tradition that is strengthened with each passing year, has had the power to attract more and more people, giving more meaning to the Christmas of each one who chooses to join this celebration. One can say that there is pomp, rigor, staging even, but without ever losing sight of the essential. Everyone gives their best to receive the Christ who has come. I would say that it is the gold, the incense and the myrrh that Porto has to offer.

 

I would dare say that this is not an exclusive moment of believers; it would be terribly selfish. This is also a time for those who do not believe, but like to feed their spirit with the beauty of creativity and the sublime power of art in different forms, architecture, painting, sculpture, music, the word. Believers and non-believers, for different reasons, some of them communal, leave from there full of soul and with the clear notion of the privilege of participation in such a special moment. And Christmas happens.

Francisco de Sá Carneiro – Bold in Life and Politics
7 November, 2018 / , , ,

If you arrived in Porto by landing at the Francisco de Sá Carneiro Airport, or if, walking through the streets of Antas, you met his statue in the square with the same name, this article is for you!

Born and raised in Porto in 1934, Francisco de Sá Carneiro is a Portuguese lawyer and politician who early stood out in opposition to the dictatorial regime in force at the time, of which the most outstanding expression was the struggle for the return of Bishop António Ferreira Gomes (whose statue can be admired next to the Clérigos Church) to the country. The Bishop had been exiled by Salazar’s Estado Novo.

In 1969, as an independent, Sá Carneiro was elected to the National Assembly of Portugal and soon became the face of the so-called Ala Liberal (Liberal Wing). He was responsible for several initiatives aimed at Portugal’s peaceful and progressive transition to a free and democratic regime.

Failing to implement his democratic, personalistic and humanist views, he resigned as deputy and returned to Porto, where he helped develop the idea of creating a social democratic party that would see the light of day after the revolution of the 25th of April of 1974, that ended the dictatorial regime. On the 6th of May of 1974, the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) – later, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) –, of which Francisco de Sá Carneiro was a co-founder and main promoter, was born.

As President of PPD, he was elected to the Constituent Assembly of 1975, which was responsible for the preparation and approval of the first Constitution of the Republic of the new democratic regime.

At the end of 1979, he created the Democratic Alliance, which came to win the next Legislative Elections. At the leadership of the largest government coalition since April 25, 1974, Sá Carneiro was named the Portuguese Prime Minister in January of 1980, a position he held until his unexpected and tragic disappearance on the 4th of December of 1980, when the plane in which he was traveling to Porto crashed in Camarate, in circumstances that, to this day, could not be ascertained.

His public side did not prevent him from living his own private life and risking criticism in a traditionalist country where divorce was not even allowed when he separated from his wife to join Snu Abecassis, the Danish founder of Don Quixote Publications, who would also end up dying in the Camarate accident. Bold as always in life, Sá Carneiro soon clarified: “If the situation is deemed incompatible with my duties, I’ll choose the woman I love.”

Considered by many to be a true good man of his city and country, with a particular nobility and straightforwardness of character, the death of Francisco de Sá Carneiro was an irreparable loss to Portuguese public life and his memory is still an inspiration today for all those who recognize, in his example, the greater form of being in life and politics, for all of those who know, as he did, that, “above Social Democracy, Democracy, and, above Democracy, the Portuguese People”.

Erasmus – University of Porto opens to the world
6 October, 2018 / ,

The University of Porto has been hosting more and more foreign students. Thousands of students come to Porto each year, attracted by a reference educational institution and a welcoming and enchanting city. Some end up staying forever.

Twenty years ago, in the 1988/1989 school year, the first student under the Erasmus + program arrived at the University of Porto. It had only been a year since the program had started all over Europe and since then many young people have chosen Porto to have a more complete academic journey and an unforgettable life experience.

On average, the University of Porto welcomes more than 4,000 international students per year. This academic year is expected to reach the highest number ever, with the arrival of more than 4,500 students from more than 100 countries.

Spain, Italy and Poland are the countries where most students come from to spend a few months in Porto. On the other hand, foreign students who are at the University of Porto to complete a cycle of studies are mostly from Brazil.

According to the European Commission, Portugal is the 7th country with the highest number of students in the 33 countries participating in the Program, behind Spain, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy and Poland.

 

Why Porto?

The quality of teaching at the University of Porto, the beauty of the city, the low cost of living, the cultural offer and the mild climate are some of the reasons that attract students from all over the world to the city of Porto.

The fact that the University has a close link with the companies in the region, the prestige the institution has and the way it supports research and innovation contributes to the University of Porto being in the top 100 in Europe in terms of employability rates.

The hospitality of the people of Porto and the multiculturalism of the school and the city are equally important to attract students from all over the world.

Porto de Leixões
5 September, 2018 / , ,

An essential port for the country and a striking and award-winning building. The Porto de Leixões and the Cruise Terminal are essential to get to know Porto and the North.

As this an Atlantic region and with a strategic location, the arrival of goods by sea was always essential for the development of this area of the country. But the sea is also connected to leisure and tourism and Leixões wants to increasingly be a gateway for those who arrive to Porto by sea.

The Terminal de Cruzeiros do Porto de Leixões, inaugurated in 2015, marks a new era in the history of the Porto de Leixões: the number of boats and passengers has increased every year (only this year it is expects 113 stopovers and more than 120 thousand) and those who arrive have better reception conditions.

The building is a spiral structure 40 meters high, covered with about one million white tiles manufactured by Vista Alegre. Its unique silhouette stands out in the landscape by the sea and awakens the curiosity of those who walk along the outskirts of Porto or Matosinhos. Inside, natural light and curved lines make the space more welcoming. It was considered the 2017 Building of the year in the Public Architecture category for the ArchDail website.

The Terminal de Cruzeiros do Porto de Leixões was considered by Cruises News as one of the best terminals in the world. This building is also home to CIIMAR – Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha da Universidade do Porto (Interdisciplinary Centre for Marine Research of the University of Porto). It also houses the Parque de Ciência e Tecnologias do Mar da Universidade do Porto (Marine Science and Technology Park of the University of Porto) and several research units with a maritime vocation (from Biology to Robotics).

The Porto de Leixões Day

On September 15th, the Porto de Leixões opens its doors between 10.00 and 19.00, with initiatives for all ages. In addition to showing visitors the daily life of the port, there will be boat visits and a regatta.

Avenida da Liberdade, Matosinhos

GPS: 41.190507246926, -8.6861515045166

Public transport: Bus: STCP – 505, STCP – 507

Subway: Line A

www.apdl.pt

 

Guided tours:

Sundays: 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Normal ticket: € 5; free for children up to 12 years old; discounts for families,> 65 years, students.

Forte de São João Baptista
3 September, 2018 / , , ,

Also known as Castelo de São João da Foz, this fortress was built to protect the city from attacks by pirates and ships from enemy countries.

Built on the right bank of the Barra do Douro, the genesis of this fort was the residence of the bishop of Viseu, developed according to the design of an Italian architect. Considered as the first manifestation of Renaissance architecture in the north of Portugal, this house, as well as the adjacent buildings – such as the Church of São João Baptista and the chapel of São Miguel-o-Anjo – was surrounded by walls in the reign of D. Sebastião (1567). The strategic location, essential for the defence of the city and the region, would justify several interventions made over the years, trying to avoid attacks by pirates and ships from the nations with whom Portugal was at war with throughout its history.

When Portuguese independence was restored after 60 years of Spanish domination (1580-1640), D. João I wanted to know the state of the national fortresses and the need to build them stronger. The French engineer Charles Lassart was sent to Porto to delineate the necessary works in the fort; it was decided to demolish the church and the residence, making the fortress safer. After the works were completed, the presence of troops in the area was reinforced. In the 18th century the fortress was described as having four ramparts and 18 pieces of artillery, but by the end of this century it was concluded that it would be necessary to strengthen security, namely with the completion of the pit and with the construction of two batteries. In 1798, a portal in neoclassical style was also included, with a drawbridge, which replaced the primitive door of arms.

The evolution of the deployment and the capacity of defence caused this fort to lose its importance during the nineteenth century. In the middle of the twentieth century, it was abandoned but ended up being considered a Monument of Public Interest and in the 80’s and 90’s it was part of a cleaning and consolidation work.

Curiosities:

In the sixteenth, the works were paid with the amount raised by the tax on the salt.

During the Peninsular War (1808-1814), on June 6, 1808, Sergeant Major Raimundo José Pinheiro occupied the premises of the fort. The next morning he had the Portuguese flag flying on his mast. It was the first act of Portuguese reaction against the Napoleonic occupation.

During the Portuguese Civil War (1828-1834), he protected, during the siege of Oporto (1832-1833), the landing of supplies for the liberal troops in the city.

In the nineteenth century it served as political prison.

The poet Florbela Espanca, married to one of the officers, lived in the fort in the early 1920s.

GPS: 41.148445879541, -8.6748862266541

Schedule: From Monday to Friday 9:00 to 17:00

Procession of the paper costume in Foz do Douro
9 August, 2018 / , , , ,

 

From mid-June to mid-September, the União de Freguesias (Union of Parishes) of Aldoar, Foz do Douro and Nevogilde, host the São Bartolomeu parties – a group of activities that liven up the streets and unite populations and visitors.

The procession of the Paper Costume is admittedly the most awaited moment of the festivities, with a history that has already surpassed 100 years and that in the last decade has gained special notoriety in the city.

 

These are months of work and preparation, with a permanent focus on roots, history and stories of the region. The 2nd French Invasion of 1809 and the Liberation of the City of Porto is the theme for the Paper Costume Contest in 2018, which will take place on August 26. There are meters and meters of paper, surgically worked by dedicated hands that keep this festive moment in the city alive.

This year’s edition has 350 extras, from gatherings and associations of the União de Freguesias, who will join the remaining hundreds who visit Foz do Douro to live this unique experience.

The current format is now 75 years old and integrates a route that seeks to reach the main centers of the history of Foz do Douro. The costumes parade begins at 10:30 am and goes through the Cantareira, rich in its fishing tradition.

After the inevitable passage through the charismatic Jardim do Passeio Alegre, a favourite amongst many intellectuals who fill the culture of Foz do Douro and Oporto, the procession continues to Ourigo Beach where the sea baths take place, one of the most noticeable traditions at the São Bartolomeu parties.

These baths are filled with tradition and folktales. Also known as “holy baths”, these dives in the waters of the Atlantic – seven, as tradition says – are a way of thanking São Bartolomeu’s favors in the last year and for banishing malaria over the next twelve months.

The participants of this year’s edition come from Bloco da União de Freguesias de Aldoar, Foz do Douro e Nevogilde, Associação de Moradores do Bairro Social da Pasteleira – Previdência, Associação de Moradores do Bairro Social de Aldoar and Orfeão da Foz do Douro.

People from all different backgrounds and spaces join in this tradition, showing that the city is made of all and with all even in the most popular of its traditions.

Douro Marina – Where excellence lies in the quality of service
16 July, 2018 / , ,

Douro Marina, located on a beach street in Afurada on the edge of Vila Nova de Gaia, is a port of great excitement with incredible views, places for walks, restaurants, shops and cafes.

This infrastructure is one of the emblematic works of the MCA Group that was responsible for the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance. With a capacity for 300 boats up to 20 meters, Douro Marina is the largest port north of Lisbon. It has support infrastructures and services with about 2000m2, spread over 3 buildings, whose architecture reflects and interacts with the surrounding riverside landscape, inspired from the Portuguese tradition of shipbuilding.

In addition to the port, the Marina has welcomed in its complex space, leisure events, sports, corporate events, conferences, training and presentations, benefiting from the extraordinary views and logistic conditions, which includes catering and meals.

Douro Marina is a new concept where sports, leisure, tourism, gastronomy and nature combine in a sustainable, innovative and full service concept.

For those who simply want to relax and watch one of the best sunsets in the world the esplanade is the ideal place. Nonetheless, you can also enjoy the 3 restaurants, nautical charters, nautical products shop, sailing academy, SUP gym and kayaks and bike rental, as well as spaces for group or private events.

Since its creation, the MCA Group / Douro Marina aims to achieve recognition in terms of sustainability and preservation of space as an indicative example where the intervention of man adds value and preserves its surrounding nature.

 BLUE FLAG HOLDER 2018 IN THE DOURO MARINA

The national ceremony to raise the first Marina Blue Flag in 2018 took place on June 19. This event took place in the Douro Marina in Vila Nova de Gaia, being the first Marina awarded the Blue Flag in the north of Portugal in the last 9 years.

Eduardo Vitor Rodrigues, Mayor of Vila Nova de Gaia, José Archer, president of the Blue Flag of Europe association and Manuel Couto Alves, president of MCA Group / Douro Marina, presided over the ceremony which also included representatives of public entities and tourism in Northern Portugal.

According to the National Blue Flag jury, the choice of Douro Marina to host the ceremony was recognition of the commitment shown and the work carried out in favour of sustainability. More so, seeing that there weren’t any Blue Flag awards since 2009 in a Marina or Recreational Port in the northern region of the country.

Monastery of São Bento da Vitoria
6 June, 2018 / , ,

Classified as a National Monument in 1977, the Monastery of São Bento da Vitoria is one of the most important religious buildings of the city.

When it was built in the 16th century, it was within the walls of the city, near the Porta do Olival, occupying lands that formerly integrated the Jewish quarter. The Benedictine friars arrived in Porto in 1597 and the following year they were authorized by the king to build a monastery, designed to mark the presence of the Portuguese Benedictine Congregation and to support the friars who passed through the city.

The construction of the building, designed by the architect Diogo Marques Lucas, began in 1604, but the construction dragged on for many years. The church, for example, was built in 1693 but its decoration was not complete until the end of the eighteenth century. Therefore, the baroque architecture of its exterior is accompanied, in the interior, by several decorative styles which reveal the change of styles and tastes during this long period. The first stone of the Noble Cloister was launched in 1608 but would only be completed between 1725 and 1728.

The grandeur of this granite monument is still impressive today. But at the time it functioned as a monastery, it was an important center for music and singing. The organ that exists in the church bears witness to this golden age.

The following centuries were somewhat troublesome: in 1808, during the Peninsular War, it was converted into a Military Hospital and, in 1835, after the expulsion of the Religious Orders, it was transformed into a Military Court and House of Soldiers, as well as Infantry Quarters 31 and Engineering.

Between 1985 and 1990 it underwent restoration works functioning as the headquarters of the Oporto National Orchestra and the Porto District Archive. In 2001, under the European Capital of Culture, the Cloister Noble was covered by an acoustic shell. In 2007, part of the Monastery was attributed to the Teatro Nacional São João. Since then, it welcomes theatrical plays, shows, concerts and special events.

Information:

Rua de São Bento da Vitória, Porto

Guided tours:

From Monday to Friday, at 12:00, and the first Sunday of the month, at 15:00, for a maximum of 30 people.

Price: € 3.00 per person.

Free entry for children up to 10 years old, accompanied by adults.

Reservations: 00351 22 340 19 56 or relacoespublicas@tnsj.pt

Parks, Gardens and Camellias
9 March, 2018 / ,

The parks and gardens are an invitation for one to leisure and rest, to a long break, an invitation to the pleasure of walking and a reunion with the history of these places, many of which are unknown. Just around the corner, this city can surprise you by the beauty of an undiscovered green space.

 

Varied and restful routes can be found in the green spaces of the city, destined to all ages; each with its different charm throughout the seasons. The richness of the natural heritage and the reconstruction of forgotten environments of our rural areas provide very didactic tours. On the other hand, the variety of the existing support equipment offers the opportunity for an extended stay and  the pursuit of other type of activities.

 

The parks and gardens of the city of Porto that we selected for these routes are located in three large areas of the city that we defined as: Historical Center, Baixa and Boavista / (Palácio de Cristal Gardens, João Chagas Garden (Jardim da Cordoaria, Parque das Virtudes, Jardim Botânico, Jardim da Casa da Prelada, among others) Western zone (Parque da Cidade, Parque de Serralves e o Jardim do Passeio Alegre, among others) and Eastern zone (Parque de S. Roque, Parque de Nova Sintra, Quinta de Villar D´Allen, Quinta de Bonjóia and the Municipal Nursery, among others.) Plan the walks for the most pleasant hours of the day and pay attention to the working hours of the various spaces. Comfortable footwear.

 

As spring is just around the corner and the colorful days are sorely missed, we could not fail to highlight the Camellias, protagonists of this time in the city.  Porto was the first city in Europe to be known as the “City of Camellias”. Originating in Asia, the entrance of these flowers have a history in the north of Portugal and Galicia in the century. XIX. We can find them in almost all the gardens and green spaces of the city. In public spaces, in cemeteries or in houses, Camellias are queens from October to April. So that you do not miss out on anything about the celebration of this Asian flower, discover the events that Porto prepared for you on the 3rd and 4th in the Monastery of São Bento da Vitória. Do not miss the set of initiatives that will run in parallel in different places of the city! And do not forget: pass by one of the Oporto Tourist Offices where you can find the itinerary “Porto. City of Camellias “, with suggestions on the best places in town to see and smell these flowers! Do not miss out on all the Porto.CARD discounts dedicated to this season!