History

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.

The day the king visited Oporto
13 October, 2017 / ,

In November and December 1908 D. Manuel II, who would  become the last king of Portugal, made a long journey to the north of the country  and spent several days in Oporto.

On one of these days, and after his mother, Queen Amélia, having shopped in a large store in the city, the people gathered at Campo da Regeneração (currently Praça da República) for a military parade. The newspapers of the time headlined that many people went up to the rooftops to watch the parade, however, cars, trams that headed to the place had to turn back due to the concentration of people.

The Royal cortege toured several streets of the Baixa and on Rua de Santa Catarina, they were received with a shower of flowers. At the end of the day a gala dinner was held at Palácio dos Carrancas. Dona Amelia had a full day, having visited the atelier of the sculptor Teixeira Lopes.

After having traveled several localities of the north, D. Manuel II returned to Oporto, having participated in a soirée at Ateneu Comercial of Porto. In another tribute to the king, the baths of Praia do Ourigo were named after the King. In October of 1910 the Republic was implanted and the designation was forever forgotten.

Source: The Tripeiro 7th grade Year XVI Number 1 and 2 February 1997

Synagogues of Porto
23 April, 2017 / ,

The Jewish presence in Porto predates the very existence of the city, but the earliest records date back to the 12th century, when many Jewish merchants had settled in Ribeira.

The first known synagogue has appeared on the hill of the Cathedral. Later on, in the 14th century, there was another prayer house in the current Rua do Comércio do Porto, near the Palácio da Bolsa.  Judiaria de Monchique (Monchique Jewish quarter), is part of the city where, even today, the Jewish presence is visible in the name of the place. There also used to be a synagogue of great importance. The sign commemorating its inauguration is in permanent exhibition at Museu do Carmo in Lisbon. The Jewish cemetery would be near the place where Passeio das Virtudes is located.

In the same century, the Judiaria do Olival (Olival Jewish quarter) was  built, which also had a majestic  synagogue that  later on gave way to the Mosteiro São Bento da Vitória (Monastery of St. Benedict of Victory). The Inquisition and the forced conversion of many Jews left their mark in Porto as well. In the seventeenth century many Jews left the city.

In the twentieth century, the Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue (at Guerra Junqueiro Street, 340) was built, the largest in the Iberian Peninsula.

Club of “weird jerseys”
11 March, 2017 /

Portuguese champion in 2000/01, Boavista has over 100 years of history. Established by the British, it stood out in the 90’s. The checkered jerseys led it to become known in Italy as “the club of weird jerseys.”

The British, which due to the business of Port Wine had a large community in the city, introduced football in Porto. The Boavista Footballers was set up in 1903, but few years later, due to a disagreement concerning the days when the matches should be held – the Portuguese preferred to play on Sundays whereas the British wanted to play on Saturdays – resulted in the subjects of His Majesty walking out on the club.

As Boavista  Futebol Clube, it had a strong growth over the following decades. The main feature was winning the Portuguese Championship in 2000/01, but participation in European competition had been going on for some years. And it was in 1991/92 during a UEFA Cup qualifying match against Inter Milan, came up the nickname “club of weird jerseys,” an allusion to the black  and white checkered jerseys.

The Bessa Stadium, renovated for Euro 2004, has a museum with the history of the club, a walk of fame and two sculptures by José Rodrigues in which the panther, the club symbol , is highlighted.