History

S. João Novo Church
22 May, 2019 / , ,

Built on the escarpment down to the Douro, in a place called “Boa Vista”, stands one of the most significant religious buildings in the historic center of Porto. The Igreja de S. João Novo was built in the middle of the 16th century and displays great artistic and architectural similarities with the Church of S. Lourenço.

The building, with a Latin cross plan, was built just above the former hermitage of S. João Belmonte. The building also took advantage of the wall that anchored the construction of the church and its monastery. Outside, it is possible to observe parts of the wall and follow its path. Inside the church, there are several carved altars, from the Baroque period (17th century) and tiles from the same period.

In the main altar, enriched with altarpiece, dating from the period between 1757 and 1766, is a moving screen reserved for the theme of the Vision of St. Augustine. The work is attributed to João Glama Stroberle, painter of German origin, who was born in Lisbon in 1708. In the same high altar it is also possible to observe a mausoleum that captures the attention of anyone due to its magnificent decoration – the author of the work is unknown.

The Alto Coro of the church consists of a single-row chair and on the side of the Gospel there is a pipe organ. Also noteworthy are the tiles alluding to the life of Santa Rita de Cássia, by Bartolomeu Antunes, located on the side altar of Santa Rita, the image of Santo Ovídeo and the image of Our Lady of Guia, by Manuel Miranda, located  collateral to the altar. Also of great interest is the altar of Senhor dos Passos, located on the right side; the image of the invocation of Jesus Christ is of great dimensions and presents features, deeply, realistic. It is probably the image that stands in this lateral altar that was brought out for the traditional Senhor dos Passos procession.

In front of the church we can find the Palácio S. João Novo, built at the end of the XVIII century, in Baroque style and that many attribute to Nicolau Nasoni.

Although it is closed more than a decade ago, the Palace served as a hospital during the Siège of Porto, in the Liberal Wars, and later as a Museum of Ethnography.

In addition to the similarities with the church of the former Jesuit College of S. Lourenço, the Church of S. João Novo also reveals the influence of the Igreja dos Grilos, due to the composition of the facade and the interior design.

The building is suitable for people with physical limitations and although it is closed on Sundays, it is possible to visit the Church of S. João Novo from Monday to Saturday, free of charge.

This year, the Church of S. João Novo is one of the spaces in the city of Porto that integrates the programming of In Spiritum – the festival proposes the discovery of the historical heritage through music.

In our city of Porto
29 March, 2019 / , , ,

In our city of Porto, a town of great ancestry, the discovery of its origins and the understanding of its urban fabric is, of course, an extensive and endless program. The twentieth century would give us one of the most representative and consistent chronicler and investigator of the history of the city.

On March 4, 1894 Artur de Magalhães Basto was born at number 556 of the so-called Duquesa de Bragança Street, in a distinctly well-designed house built by his father António José de Magalhães Basto, circa 1875, then architect and professor of the Academy Portuense of Fine Arts José Geraldo da Silva Sardinha.

His training in Law at the University of Lisbon would serve him well in the future, as from a very young age his  interest in research and paleography became apparent , namely through his teaching career integrating him in  the first Modern Language Faculty of the city, where he lectured  between 1922 and 1931. Being part of the City Hall of Porto up to his death, on June 3, 1960, heading as from 1934, the Services of Palaeography and Manuscripts of the library;  and as from 1938 became Director of the Office of History of the City and became head of cultural services,  until 1960. He was also Director of the Porto District Archive from 1939, as well as head of the great Office of the Holy House of Mercy of Porto, since 1933.

But it is as a chronicler of the city that Magalhães Basto would stand out: from his writing would flow the most diverse themes of history and art always linked to the city of which we will give just a few examples: the indispensable “Falam Velhos Manuscritos”, 1445 weekly articles in the Oporto newspaper The 1º de Janeiro “between 1930 and 1960; and his fundamental articles in the magazine of History of the city “The Tripeiro”, of which he would be director between 1945 and 1960. Some of his 160 published works are transcriptions of conferences, one of his specialties, for us worthy of special reference , because of the urgency and style with which he was able to reach out to us all, without discrimination, in a very simple and direct way, his historical narrative and his studies about Our City of Porto. In fact, these lectures would be a way of counteracting the silence, the solitude of “Poeira dos Arquivos”, his natural routine, as he would so well refer to in a February 1960 text: “How boring a life must be, or even a year, a day, or even a single hour, all alone in an arquive, to read, to decipher old paper, crumpled, yellowed by time, gnawed by rats, holed by moth, and stale air.

Our beloved and distinguished researcher died at his last residence, in Oporto, at nr. 500  Gondarém street,  a dignified note left by Professor Luís Duarte in the  exhibition catalogue dedicated by the master in 2005 in the Palace Gallery : “We realize that in the history country, there was a before and after of the magisterium and the work of Artur de Magalhães Basto”.

 

Church “Dos Grilos” – MUSEUM OF SACRED ART AND ARCHEOLOGY
4 February, 2019 / , , ,

Church of S.Lourenço also known as The Church of the Crickets, a visit not to be missed, with a panoramic view of the river Douro, Invicta and the Margin of Gaia

A walking tour through the city center to the Porto Cathedral is a common itinerary for tourists visiting this proud unconquered city. Discovering downtown is an adventure. As we walk through the narrow streets of the ancient city we discover its secrets and its curiosities.

Today we invite the tourist to venture into Bairro da Sé. The imposing Sé is the starting point of our adventure. Just a few meters away, in an alley that seems to have no exit we encounter the Church of S. Lourenço, better known as the Church of the Grilos, which, together with the Homonymous College, is classified as a National Monument.

It began to be built by the Jesuits in the sixteenth century and was only completed in the eighteenth century. If most of the churches have a wealth and opulence often exaggerated, the Church of the Crickets surprises by its simple, bare and unadorned walls.

In the Church stand out the beautiful altar of Our Lady of Purification, the fantastic organ with 1500 tubes that, according to  records was built at the end of the century. XVIII and the crib, a unique construction, dating from the XVIII century and whose authorship is attributed to Machado de Castro. At Christmas time, along with the tradition of many other churches in the city, it is possible to appreciate this very rare crib composed of large dozens of figures placed right at the entrance of the monument.

The Church of the Crickets, although correctly denominated by Church of S. Lourenço, was initially the Church and the College of the Jesuits. With the extinction and expulsion of the Jesuits by the Marquis of Pombal in the eighteenth century, the Church was donated to the University of Coimbra and later bought by the Barefoot Friars of St. Augustine who, due to having their main residence in Lisbon, were commonly known as The Cricket Fathers. And hence the Church became commonly known as the Church of the Crickets although they no longer reside there.

The Museum of Sacred Art and Archeology of Porto – with access by a contiguous door to the left of the Church – displays a collection of interesting pieces from the statuary of saints, religious jewelery and other liturgical pieces. It is also here in the Museum that, from the magnificent balcony, one can have an unparalleled view of Porto and Gaia and the Douro River. A breathtaking view you can not miss!

Guilhermina Suggia
10 January, 2019 / ,

She was born in Oporto in 1885. Guilhermina Suggia grew up surrounded by music, much due to her father who was a cellist. Very early she began to take cello lessons and at the age of 7 she made her first public appearance in Matosinhos. At the age of 13 she was already a member of the Orfeão Portuense and quickly fell in love with Porto. It was a step up to give the first shows, often accompanied by her sister. At age 16, she received a grant from Rainha D. Amélia to attend the best European Conservatory. She passed the most respected rooms in London and around the world, but never forgot her hometown. It is in this course that she meets the director of the Conservatório de Música do Porto it is also in this saga that the Orquestra Sinfónica do Conservatório is born. Guilhermina Suggia travels Portugal from North to South and enchants everyone with her talent. In the Florbela Espanca Municipal Library, in Matosinhos, there are various documents such as her personal and official correspondence, photographs …

She passed when she was only 65, but left her mark as the best Portuguese cellist.

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

Fenianos, for Porto
15 December, 2018 / ,

Clube Fenianos Portuenses was founded on March 25, 1904, in the Batalha Square. In 1935, it was moved to its current location, in the Aliados Avenue, right next to the Porto City Hall.

The club was recognized as Commander of the Military Order of Christ for the services rendered throughout its 111 years of existence to that moment and with the Gold Medal of Porto as well, reinforcing its motto “Pelo Porto” (For Porto).

Around 1903, four of its founders, Porto citizens and future Fenianos, sought to obtain the necessary knowledge for the organization of a Carnival-like corso with the exuberance of the Carioca Carnival and the aesthetic beauty of the one in Venice, having made a trip to Brazil with this goal.

Clube Carnavalesco Fenianos Portuenses was born from this collaboration, later renamed Clube Fenianos Portuenses. The main goal was to give the city a Carnival at the level of its artistic sensibility.

As a note of curiosity, the floor of the Salão Nobre (Noble Room) also brings with it the “Brazil effect”, since all of it is of pau-cetim of light tone and macacaúba.

The history, patrimony, memories and civic and cultural intervention of Fenianos in Porto became entrenched in the city. The club was cherished by its populations, erudite, notable and anonymous, becoming a memorable tradition of Porto.

Its centenary and noble history, its gold books and the tombstones and pictures, that internally cover its old walls, register the presence of some of the most important living forces of the city, industry and commerce, great names of writers like Aquilino Ribeiro, Jorge de Sena, José Régio, of playwrights like Pirandello, of plastic artists, photographers and renowned painters such as Guedes de Oliveira and Amadeu de Sousa Cardoso, of folklorists and musicologists such as Armando Leça, of lectures with the historian of the city of Artur de Magalhães Basto and many, many other national and international figures.

Nowadays, the club continues to maintain an annual program of permanent socio-cultural activities, ranging from Music, Choral Singing and Instrumental to Illusionism, Theater, Dance, Billiards, Table Tennis and other ballroom games, not only for members, but for everyone who visits.

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”.

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

University of Porto
11 October, 2018 / ,

Founded on March 22, 1911, the University of Porto is increasingly sought after by Portuguese and foreign students. With 14 colleges and three hubs (in the center, Asprela and Campo Alegre), it has about 30 thousand students from all over the world.

The origins of the University of Porto are in the Nautical Classroom, created by D. José I in 1762 and designed to prepare sailors and pilots to board ships departing from Barra do Douro to the whole world. Drawing Class followed right after, created in 1779; Royal Academy of the Navy and Commerce, in 1803; Polytechnic Academy in 1837. All these schools were designed to prepare cadres qualified to work in the naval area, in commerce, industry and the arts.

In 1825 the first medical school of Porto, the Royal School of Surgery, was founded, which 11 years later gave rise to the Medical-Surgical School. The Drawing Class was also the origin of other schools linked to the arts.

In March 1911, a few months after the Implantation of the Republic (October 1910), this university was established, which has since continued to grow in terms of courses, number of students and international prestige. Initially divided in two faculties (Sciences and Medicine), it received in 1915 the Technical Faculty (renamed in 1926 of Faculty of Engineering), in 1919 the Faculty of Letters and, in 1921, the Faculty of Pharmacy. The Faculty of Economics was established in 1953.

With the revolution of April 25, 1974, the University of Porto would see great growth, receiving more faculties: Abel Salazar Institute of Biomedical Sciences (1975), Faculty of Sports (1975), Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences 1977), Faculty of Architecture (1979), Faculty of Dental Medicine (1989), Faculty of Nutrition and Food Sciences (1992), Faculty of Fine Arts (1992) and Faculty of Law (1994). The Porto Management School was created in 1988 and since 2008 it has been designated as Business School of the University of Porto.

The rectory

It is the headquarters of the University of Porto. Located in the centre of the city, at the Praça Gomes Teixeira, this imposing building also houses the Museum of Natural History and the Science Museum. Between 1803 and 1837 it received the Royal Academy of Navy and Commerce and the Polytechnic Academy of Porto between 1837 and 1911. Installed in the space that housed a college for orphans, this building had a time-consuming construction and was often re-adapted for new functions. On April 20, 1974, a fire destroyed a part of the building, which was again the target of works and renovations. Between 1976 and 1996 the rectory worked in a building near the Palácio de Cristal.

Church São Pedro de Miragaia
9 October, 2018 / , ,

Close to the Douro and in the middle of the historical area, this church with a richly decorated interior is a sign of devotion from the fishermen to São Pedro.

The current church, rebuilt in the eighteenth century, emerged in the place where there was previously another temple of medieval origin. Miragaia, along the Douro River, was one of the first inhabited zones in the city. Born in the heart of a devout fishing community, this church was dedicated to São Pedro, patron saint of fishermen.

The previous temple gave place, in 1740, to a temple with a simple structure and with a unique ship. However, the richness of the interior decoration compensates for this stripping. The chancel is fully lined with gilded carving. A work that lasted for several years and that made this decoration reflect the evolution of the aesthetics of different periods. The ceiling and the triptych in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, attributed to the Flemish painter Van Orley, also deserve a close look. In the exterior, the simple tiles – placed in the 19th century – stand out on the façade and the bell tower and the baroque ornaments on the lateral pilasters.

Largo de S. Pedro de Miragaia, Porto

Visiting hours: Tue-Fri 3:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sun. 10:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Closed: Monday