History

Bust of Homage to Guilherme Gomes Fernandes
13 August, 2019 / , ,

By the author Bento Cândido da Silva, the bust of the Commander of the Firemen of Porto, Guilherme Gomes Fernandes, was inaugurated in 1915 in the square that has since adorned the name of this illustrious personage.

Guilherme Gomes Fernandes was born in Bahia on February 6, 1850. At the age of three he went to live in Porto and at thirteen he left for England with the intention of attending high school.

At the age of 19, Gomes Fernandes settled in the city of Porto. Years later, he helped found the Associação Humanitária dos Bombeiros Voluntários (1874-75) and the Corpo de Salvação Pública. He was appointed Commander of the Fire Department in 1877 and Inspector of Fire of Porto in 1885. He then transferred to Companhia de Incêndios, assuming the position of commander. He also developed business activity in the area of journalism, having created and directed the newspaper “O Bombeiro Voluntário”, published between 1877 and 1890.

Guilherme Gomes Fernandes was also notable, among other actions, in the fight against the tragic fire of the Baquet Theater in 1888.

His contribution to the progress of the firefighters in Porto and in the country earned him the title of “Master”, as well as prestigious national and international decorations.

Guilherme Gomes Fernandes died in Lisbon, Hospital of S. José, on October 31, 1902.

 

Pinwheels in the city of Porto
12 August, 2019 / ,

The origin of the pinwheels is not clearly indicated in history, but some historians believe that the first one was born in Persia during the year 915 BC. Others believe that in Iraq, Egypt or China there are indications of the use of even more remote windmills. However, it was not until the twelfth century that windmills were introduced to Europe.

This small device has facilitated many agricultural processes such as grinding grain, pumping water, drainage of land, among many others.

Whether used as mere decoration or to fulfill their designated function, the pinwheels are spread over the top of many buildings in the city of Porto!

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”.

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.

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.