History

A monument, more than 40 years of construction
6 June, 2018 / ,

Intended to evoke the Centennial of the Peninsular Wars, the monument located in the center of Mouzinho de Albuquerque Square (Rotunda da Boavista) began to be built during the Monarchy but was only completed more than 40 years later during the Republic.

The idea of ​​honoring the way the troops and the people of North America defeated Napoleon’s army – symbolized in the way the lion overlapped the imperial eagle – arose in 1908. The first stone was laid in 1909 by King Manuel II, who would become the last Portuguese king. A contest was launched for the project, but the winner would only be known in 1911, when Portugal was already a Republic.

The architect Marques da Silva and the sculptor Alves de Sousa were chosen for a project that would only be finished after their deaths. Alves de Sousa passed away in 1922 and Marques da Silva, who tried everything to complete the construction, would also die in 1947 before the monument was inaugurated. It was through the hands of his daughter and his son-in-law, and already with contributions from the sculptors Henrique Moreira and Sousa Caldas, that this ex-libris of the city would be ready. It was inaugurated on May 27, 1952.

Source: O Tripeiro, 7th grade, Year XXVIII, Number 5 – May 2009

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.

Centuries of tradition of exclusive taste – What you need to know about Port wine
18 April, 2018 / , , ,

Produced in the Douro region, it is world -famous and can be enjoyed in the most diverse occasions.

The terraces and the climate of the Douro allied to the experience gained over the centuries to create a unique wine in the world, with an aroma and unique flavours, which features a wide range of colours – ranging from (ruby to pale white, then passing to golden white) and sweetness (very sweet, sweet, semi-sweet or extra dry).

The aging process results in two different types of Port Wine. Ruby wines keep the red colour, fruity aroma and strength of a young wine. In terms of quality, they can be divided into Ruby, Reserve, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) and Vintage. The wines from the best categories, especially Vintage, can be stored for several years, as they age well in the bottle.

Tawny ports are obtained by blending different matured wines by aging in casks or vats. Colours can be red-tawny, tawny or tawny light and aromas evoke dried fruit and wood, characteristics that are accentuated with age. The existing categories are: Tawny, Tawny Reserve, Tawny with age indication (10 years, 20 years, 30 years and 40 years) and Vintage. They may be consumed shortly after bottling.

Oporto and the English – A friendship of centuries
18 April, 2018 / ,

The influence of the English in the city of Porto and specifically the Port wine is well known, but the relationship between Porto and British is much older.

The first contact took place around June 1147, when the English Crusaders who were going to the Holy Land stayed in Porto for 11 days waiting for the forces commanded by the Count of Areschot and Cristiano de Gistell, who had separated from the fleet due to a tempest at sea . The first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, on learning of this fact, tried to establish an agreement with their leaders, convincing them to help in the conquest of Lisbon from the Moors.

The relationship intensified during the middle Ages, with the establishment of commercial relations. Cloths, wine, wood, furs and fish were the products traded between the two countries.

The 2 of February of 1367 the Cathedral of the Porto was stage of the marriage between D. João I and D. Filipa de Lencastre, a union that would offset the support of the British in the fight against Castile. In 1642, two years after the restoration of Portugal’s independence, Porto receives the first British consul, Nicholas Comerforde.

Nicolau Nasoni – One the most influential figures in the architecture of Porto
18 April, 2018 / ,

Having reigned for over 30 years, architect-painter Nicolau Nasoni was effectively a sort of king of the arts without rivals.

Arriving in Porto in 1725, at the age of 34 (he was born in Tuscany in 1691), originally from Valletta, the Isle of Malta, where he had worked for some years for the Portuguese Grand Master D. António Manuel de Vilhena.

His great work of Malta, was painting the corridors of the Palace of the Grand Masters in Valletta. It was there where his fresco style was revealed and it would later be transferred onto the granite of Porto, in works such as the Cathedral or Sé, the Clérigos and the Igreja da Misericórdia. Roque de Távora, brother of the Dean of Porto, recommended Nasoni as a result of his spectacular ability to work.

 Nasoni gave Porto that urban grandeur which originates from possession of palaces and temples, monasteries and stately homes on a large scale, identified with a top notch artistic genius. And in the case of the great artist of Porto, this distinction is not limited to the field of architecture. It is also expressed in the painting, sculpture; both in stone and carving; gold engraving, wrought iron, to name some genius aspects of the extraordinary man who shaped and ennobled the city of Porto.

  

Article taken from the magazine “O Tripeiro” # 7, July 1996, VI series, Year VI

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 … !!!”

Did you know? Portuguese cinema was born in Porto.
23 March, 2018 / , ,

“A Saída do Pessoal Operário da Fábrica Confiança”, made in 1896, may have been the first film made in Portugal.

The birth of Portuguese cinema is connected to the city of Porto and a man who had photography as a hobby and commerce as his main activity.

Aurélio da Paz dos Reis was an image enthusiast and, in addition to fl owers and seeds, he also used to sell films, typewriters and automobiles. He pursued with interest all the innovations that were emerging at that time and he tried to buy a cinematograph from the Lumière brothers. Not succeeding, he acquired from his brother in law a chronophotograph device.

It was with this equipment that in 1896 he made what would be considered the first Portuguese film: “ A Saída do Pessoal Operário da Fábrica Confiança.”

This shirt factory, located on Rua de Santa Catarina, No. 181, was the chosen location, maybe influenced by the Lumière brothers fi lm (1894/1895), La Sortie de l’usine Lumière à Lyon.

The first movie theatre of the city, Salão Highlife, was inaugurated in 1906.

The tragedy of the House of Mermaids
9 March, 2018 / ,

Also known as the Palácio da Bandeirinha, the Casa das Sereias (named after the two images that flank the main door) was built in the mid-18th century by the Portocarrero family.

The building, an imposing palace that still distinguishes itself in the landscape of the city, was built on the site of the Cemetery of the Hebrews and the old Jewish quarter. The family, despite its wealth and prestige, did not escape some tragic episodes. The owner of the estate died in a boat accident in the Douro and, since he had no children, the palace passed on to his brother.

In 1809, during the French Invasions, a group of people, convinced that one of the elements of the family was conniving with the French, slaughtered him in the courtyard of the house. The Portocarrero, who in the mean time lost other members of the family in a tragic way, left the palace and did not return. The building was closed until 1995. It was sold to the Institute of the Instituto das Filhas da Caridade who installed a college there that is still in operation.

 

 

 

 

The Tripeiro 7th series Year XXXIII, Number 3 March 2014

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.

 

Romanesque Church of Cedofeita
10 January, 2018 / , ,

It is the oldest church in Porto, with origins dating back to the sixth century and a king desperate to save a sick son.

Classified as a National Monument and located next to another larger and more modern church, the Church of São Martinho de Cedofeita, commonly known as the Romanesque Church of Cedofeita, stands out for its simplicity and antiquity.

The present church is not, however, the original building, since the temple dates back to the sixth century and the Suebi Dynasty, undergoing several changes over the years. The earliest remains were from the end of the ninth century, therefore predating the very formation of Portugal, which only occurred in the twelfth century. It may have been after 868 (year of the re-conquest of the city from the Moors) that a temple was built, whose capitals still resist. These elements were built in limestone, probably originating from the region of Coimbra, while the remaining building was made in granite. The lower parts of the chancel would have been built later, dating back to about 1087.

Nevertheless, the Romanesque phase of this important work only appeared later, during the period of the reign of D. Afonso Henriques, the first Portuguese king. In addition to its antiquity, this church has unique architectural and decorative features in this region of the country: particularly important is the tympanum in the North Portal, where one can see an Agnus Dei (a mystical lamb symbolizing Christ in the Apocalypse), quite similar to one that exists currently at the Machado de Castro National Museum in Coimbra. The influences of this region can be explained by the fact that Soeiro Anes worked on this project, which was also connected to the Sé Velha of Coimbra.

The legend:

The Suebi king Theodomiro, desperate to save his sick son, made a promise to Saint Martin of Tours, sending to Tours gold and silver in weight equal to that of his son. When returning, a bishop brought a relic of the saint, and when it was shown, the sick son healed. Feeling extremely grateful, the king converted all his people to Catholicism and had a church built in honor of the saint. The church was quickly built, becoming known as Cito Facta, which means Made Early. From this expression the present name of that zone: Cedofeita is derived.

Information:

Largo do Priorado, Porto

Opening Hours: Tuesday through Friday: 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.