Monument

Forte de São João Baptista
3 September, 2018 / , , ,

Also known as Castelo de São João da Foz, this fortress was built to protect the city from attacks by pirates and ships from enemy countries.

Built on the right bank of the Barra do Douro, the genesis of this fort was the residence of the bishop of Viseu, developed according to the design of an Italian architect. Considered as the first manifestation of Renaissance architecture in the north of Portugal, this house, as well as the adjacent buildings – such as the Church of São João Baptista and the chapel of São Miguel-o-Anjo – was surrounded by walls in the reign of D. Sebastião (1567). The strategic location, essential for the defence of the city and the region, would justify several interventions made over the years, trying to avoid attacks by pirates and ships from the nations with whom Portugal was at war with throughout its history.

When Portuguese independence was restored after 60 years of Spanish domination (1580-1640), D. João I wanted to know the state of the national fortresses and the need to build them stronger. The French engineer Charles Lassart was sent to Porto to delineate the necessary works in the fort; it was decided to demolish the church and the residence, making the fortress safer. After the works were completed, the presence of troops in the area was reinforced. In the 18th century the fortress was described as having four ramparts and 18 pieces of artillery, but by the end of this century it was concluded that it would be necessary to strengthen security, namely with the completion of the pit and with the construction of two batteries. In 1798, a portal in neoclassical style was also included, with a drawbridge, which replaced the primitive door of arms.

The evolution of the deployment and the capacity of defence caused this fort to lose its importance during the nineteenth century. In the middle of the twentieth century, it was abandoned but ended up being considered a Monument of Public Interest and in the 80’s and 90’s it was part of a cleaning and consolidation work.

Curiosities:

In the sixteenth, the works were paid with the amount raised by the tax on the salt.

During the Peninsular War (1808-1814), on June 6, 1808, Sergeant Major Raimundo José Pinheiro occupied the premises of the fort. The next morning he had the Portuguese flag flying on his mast. It was the first act of Portuguese reaction against the Napoleonic occupation.

During the Portuguese Civil War (1828-1834), he protected, during the siege of Oporto (1832-1833), the landing of supplies for the liberal troops in the city.

In the nineteenth century it served as political prison.

The poet Florbela Espanca, married to one of the officers, lived in the fort in the early 1920s.

GPS: 41.148445879541, -8.6748862266541

Schedule: From Monday to Friday 9:00 to 17:00

Igreja Senhora da Conceição
20 July, 2018 /

It is one of the most recent churches of Porto and, besides its unique architecture, it offers a privileged view of Porto and surrounding cities from its tower.

Consecrated by Our Lady of the Conception, patroness of Portugal, it is known among the Portuguese simply as the Igreja do Marquês, name of the square where it is located.

The creation of the Parish of Senhora da Conceição in 1927 made it necessary to build a church that could welcome the inhabitants of that part of the city, which became increasingly populous. The project was handed over to the Benedictine monk Paul Bellot. The first stone was laid in 1938 but due to economic difficulties and World War II, the work would only be completed in 1947.

The architecture has Gothic, Byzantine and Arab influences. Inside, the stained-glass windows with scenes of the life of Christ and of the Virgin Mary stand out, as well as an organ with 39 registers. One of the towers has 18 bells that can play 120 different songs. It is also possible to climb the tower, which is one of the highest points of the city and with a breath taking view.

Praça do Marquês de Pombal, 111, Porto
Visits: from 10h30 to 12h00 and from 15h00 to 17h00

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

 

Infante Dom Henrique Garden: A tribute to the Portuguese Discoveries
6 June, 2018 / , ,

This square, located in the heart of the historic center, is the ideal place to relax between walks in the city’s alleys and visits to points of interest that surround this garden.

Standing on top of a pedestal, stands the statue which gave this garden its name, and was inaugurated in 1900. The Infante Dom Henrique (1394-1460) was a noble navigator and important figure of the Age of the Portuguese Discoveries. He will have been born nearby, at Casa do Infante.

The Streets of Ferreira Borges, Infante D. Henrique, Mouzinho da Silveira and the Bolsa set the limits of this square which was previously an integral part of the fence of the Convent of St. Domingos.

The privileged location of this square allows amazing views of the surrounding emblematic buildings, such as the Stock Exchange Palace, the Ferreira Borges Market, St. Francis Church and the Parish Church of St. Nicholas.

Rua do Infante Dom Henrique, Porto

How to get there:

Bus: 1M, 500, 900, 901, 906, ZH, ZM, ZR and 10M

Tram: STCP – Infante – Passeio Alegre

This tower has a fable?
6 June, 2018 / ,

Near the Palácio de Cristal, a medieval tower resembles a story of arrogance and greed that went awry.

Belonging to the emblazoned house that stands on the corners of the D. Manuel II and Júlio Dinis streets, this medieval tower, classified as a National Monument, is also known as Torre de Pedro Sem.It recalls the legend of a very wealthy man who ended up broke and having to beg for pennies.

According to the fable, in the sixteenth century this palace was inhabited by a wealthy man, owner of several ships used for the commerce of spices and precious metals. It is also said that part of their wealth had been obtained by lending money at high interest rates and dragging many people into poverty.

One day, anxious for the arrival of his ships, he climbed the tower to see the boats at the entrance to Barra do Douro. Ecstatic, he would have shouted that his wealth was so great that even God would not be able to make him poor. At that moment, a storm arose and sank all of his ships. His punishment for blasphemy was even greater: a thunderbolt struck the tower, destroying the house and all its assets. Pedro Sem (Peter Without) lost everything and ended his days as a beggar.

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

Monastery of São Bento da Vitoria
6 June, 2018 / , ,

Classified as a National Monument in 1977, the Monastery of São Bento da Vitoria is one of the most important religious buildings of the city.

When it was built in the 16th century, it was within the walls of the city, near the Porta do Olival, occupying lands that formerly integrated the Jewish quarter. The Benedictine friars arrived in Porto in 1597 and the following year they were authorized by the king to build a monastery, designed to mark the presence of the Portuguese Benedictine Congregation and to support the friars who passed through the city.

The construction of the building, designed by the architect Diogo Marques Lucas, began in 1604, but the construction dragged on for many years. The church, for example, was built in 1693 but its decoration was not complete until the end of the eighteenth century. Therefore, the baroque architecture of its exterior is accompanied, in the interior, by several decorative styles which reveal the change of styles and tastes during this long period. The first stone of the Noble Cloister was launched in 1608 but would only be completed between 1725 and 1728.

The grandeur of this granite monument is still impressive today. But at the time it functioned as a monastery, it was an important center for music and singing. The organ that exists in the church bears witness to this golden age.

The following centuries were somewhat troublesome: in 1808, during the Peninsular War, it was converted into a Military Hospital and, in 1835, after the expulsion of the Religious Orders, it was transformed into a Military Court and House of Soldiers, as well as Infantry Quarters 31 and Engineering.

Between 1985 and 1990 it underwent restoration works functioning as the headquarters of the Oporto National Orchestra and the Porto District Archive. In 2001, under the European Capital of Culture, the Cloister Noble was covered by an acoustic shell. In 2007, part of the Monastery was attributed to the Teatro Nacional São João. Since then, it welcomes theatrical plays, shows, concerts and special events.

Information:

Rua de São Bento da Vitória, Porto

Guided tours:

From Monday to Friday, at 12:00, and the first Sunday of the month, at 15:00, for a maximum of 30 people.

Price: € 3.00 per person.

Free entry for children up to 10 years old, accompanied by adults.

Reservations: 00351 22 340 19 56 or relacoespublicas@tnsj.pt

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.

Church of Santa Clara – A treasure of Baroque
18 April, 2018 /

It is one of the treasures of Porto. Located in the historical area of ​​the city, it is distinguished by the Gothic construction and the rich golden carving interior.

The Church of Santa Clara is one of the best examples of decoration with gilded carving used during the Baroque period. Despite being a building of Gothic origin, dating back to the XV century, it has undergone several transformations throughout the centuries, thus lodging various architectural and decorative styles.

The cloister, for example, has Mannerist characteristics, but the concierge and the chancels are already examples of the Baroque of the early eighteenth century. The nave underwent alterations in 1732, in order to enlarge the space and increase the interior lighting. The most significant transformation, however, occurred with the introduction of the gilded carving in the master chapel.

This national monument features the tiles, which stand out, in the area of ​​the chancels, with a panel dating back to 1680, representing the souls of Purgatory.

Address: Largo 1º de Dezembro, 4000-404 Porto

Tel.: +351 223392330

Opening hours: Guided tours: Mon-Fri: 10:00-12:30 / 14:30-17:00 Sat: 10:00-12:30

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.