History

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.

The traditional barber shops in Porto
20 July, 2018 / , , ,

These are nine of the traditional barbershops in the city of Porto and all are located between the Hospital Santo António and the São Bento Station.

Also traditional is the decoration of these barbershops, with iron armchairs and brass instruments capable of withstanding decades of use. Professionals also follow this longevity: many are elderly gentlemen with weather-discolored hair and clever fingers wrapped in wrinkles.

  • Barbearia Porto: It was born in 1946 but from that date only the chairs and a shoebox are left. The new owners brought in the rest of the vintage decor. It is two steps from the Avenida dos Aliados.
  • Barbearia Garrett: Since 1979 in the hands of Acácio Branco, this barbershop is just a few meters from the Porto City Hall. With an old-fashioned décor, this establishment only has male guests.
  • Oficina do Cabelo: Formerly known as Tinoco, reopened under this name. From 1929 it maintains the marble washbasins, iron chairs, huge mirrors and floor covered with fan mosaics. It is now considered part of Porto’s heritage.
  • Barbearia Santo António: It is not much bigger than a corridor, but it brings a lot of history in the hands of António Cardoso. There are more than 50 years of cuts at the beginning of Rua 31 de Janeiro.
  • Barbearia Norton: In this barbershop, in the Batalha area, we talk about everything and keep alive the tradition of the neighbourhood barber with leather chairs, beard brush and razors.
  • Salão Veneza: It is almost 90 years old and more than 70 years as a barbershop. Some of the most unforgettable characters of our history have already sat in these red armchairs.
  • Barbearia Sport: It was in 1942 that this barbershop settled in Porto. It happened in an era where one would spend more time embellishing their moustache than cutting hair.
  • Barbearia Invicta: Aventino Silva has been in this barbershop since the age of 10 and despite the arrival of the blades, he has not lost clients.
  • Barbearia Orlando: It already has two spaces in Porto but it is in the Rua Álvaro Castelões that the tradition, the customers and the conversations are kept on point.

Source: “Os bigodes à antiga e a arte de os fazer bem feitos” – Prova de Aptidão Artística (Artistic aptitude test) by Edgar Duarte (Escola Artística Soares dos Reis)

St James Anglican Church
6 June, 2018 / , ,

In a city with such strong connections to the British community, getting to know the St James Anglican Church and the Cemetery of the British is to know a little more about this relationship that has lasted for centuries.

The links between Porto and the British are ancient and have become even more intense thanks to the Port wine trade. It was in 1671 that the Port Chaplaincy was founded, but since Protestants could not have places of worship or openly celebrate religious services at that time, English families residing in Porto met discreetly in private homes. They could not also be buried in Catholic cemeteries so they were buried on the banks of the Douro.

In 1787, the British consul John Whitehead was allowed to buy land outside the city limits to be used as a graveyard. In 1815 the church began to be built which would be completed three years later. Of Neoclassical character, it had works of enlargement in 1866/67 increasing the nave and turning into the shape of a cross.

Surrounded by a wall – a requirement of the Portuguese authorities during its construction – the property also includes the cemetery. Here are buried members of the Forrester family, English airmen who lost their lives when flying over Portuguese territory during World War II and the Consul John Whitehead. The church and the cemetery can be visited.

Information:

Largo da Maternidade Júlio Dinis, 45

Website: www.stjamesoporto.org

 

From traditional transport to symbol of a region
6 June, 2018 / ,

Rabelo Boat is one of the major symbols of Porto and the Douro. Originally created in the 18th century for the transportation of the Port wine barrels, between the Alto Douro wine-growing lands and the Ribeira do Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. Today, this traditional boat is preserved in the cities memory and constitutes a privileged element of the tourism in the region.

Due to the inexistence of appropriate road and rail routes, Rabelo Boat was the most reliable and exclusive means of transportation for the wine industry. It was generally manned by ten to twelve navigators and, if going towards the current, crews sought to ensure the stability of the most valuable product of the region’s trade over turbulent waters; otherwise, the vessels were taken by towpaths drawn by ropes along the banks of the Douro River.

Without keel, with a flat bottom and with a length of between 19 and 25 meters, it integrates a wooden structure called apégada and a long oar on the stern, the espadela, used to manoeuvre the boat.

The introduction of the Douro railways in the late nineteenth century and the development of roadways during the twentieth century dictated the decline of river traffic provided by Rabelo Boats.

Today, anchored on the banks of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, they are used exclusively for its recreational character in the famous Regatta de São João, on June 24 of each year, for the celebrations of popular festivals in the city of Porto.

An updated version of the original vessel was created to transport passengers on tours through the Douro. They are wooden boats, with the traditional appearance, but meet the safety and comfort conditions demanded today.

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 … !!!”