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The Elevador da Ribeira
31 October, 2021 / ,

The Elevador da Ribeira or Lada lift connects the Ribeira do Porto to the half slope of Barredo.

This vertical lift with a walkway, is a free access urban public transport located in the city of Porto.

To go up, go to number 66 in Largo dos Arcos da Ribeira, next to the D. Luis bridge.

The ride is fast and an excellent way to get to the upper part of the city, without having to face slopes and stairs.

It has a security guard on the lower level to safeguard its proper functioning.

Once on the upper level we have a great panoramic view of some bridges and the Gaia quay, as well as very different views of some parts of the river.

The Lada neighbourhood has undergone several alterations and works over the years.

This iron lift was part of this project, it was perfectly framed with its neighbour metallic bridge, and it was ready in 1993, but only in 95 it started working.

A Praça da Ribeira
31 October, 2021 /

Ribeira is one of the oldest and most typical squares in the city of Porto, located on the banks of the Douro River.

Of medieval origin, it has always been quite busy, due to the great economic activity and the presence of a port a few kilometres away.
It was, therefore, an important point of entry and exit of people and goods in the invicta city.

The thirteenth century represented a period of expansion in which Porto grew close to the riverside. Houses, streets, stairs and alleys developed.

At the beginning of the 15th century, the Ribeira teemed with people connected to the multiple activities of the river and the sea, the domain of merchants and a breeding ground for the bourgeois.

Over time it has undergone urban changes. In the 17th century, in an urban plan for the city of Porto, the Praça da Ribeira was altered. Rua de São João was opened, improving the access from Ribeira to the highest part of the city, which, until then, was mainly through Rua dos Mercadores.
Where a 17th century fountain would have existed, a “Cubo” was placed practically in the middle of the square.

Despite all the transformations that occurred in the centre of Porto, the city remained facing the Douro, living in function of its river.

Its intense commercial traffic, always covered by ships, made Ribeira square the economic and social centre of the city.

The picturesque buildings that surround the square and the fantastic proximity and view of the Douro River and Vila Nova de Gaia, as well as the bridges over the river, make this square a place of unparalleled beauty.

Part of the Historic Centre of Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991, it is a very popular area with tourists and a concentration of bars and restaurants.

Ribeira is the picture postcard of Porto and one of the most visited areas of the city.

The Bridges that no longer exist…
4 October, 2021 / ,

For many years, the crossing of the river from one bank to the other was made with the help of rafts and boats.

It was only in 1369 that a walkway was inaugurated consisting of boats, an iron chain that joined them and a wooden platform on which people walked.
But there was one major drawback, whenever the water levels of the river rose due to heavy rains, the improvised bridge was destroyed.

The somewhat more sophisticated Ponte das Barcas was built for longer-lasting purposes, designed by Carlos Amarante and inaugurated on the 15th August 1806.
This was considered the first bridge that connected Porto and Gaia.

It was made with 20 barges placed in parallel, connected by steel cables, and supporting a series of wooden planks, with two openings for river traffic, so that boats going up and down the river could pass. Furthermore, it was a collapsible bridge, so it could adapt as the currents of the Douro increased or decreased.

This innovation only arrived in 1806 but it had its end in 1809, the idea was short-lived.

On 29 March 1809, during Napoleon’s Second French Invasion, when General Soult’s army was marching on the city with the intention of destroying it, the desperate population rushed towards the river to cross over to the Gaia side.

With the amount of panicked people on the bridge, it collapsed. The central trapdoor opened and the bridge collapsed.

Over 4000 people died.

After the Ponte das Barcas tragedy, another bridge had to be built.

This bridge was built in 1843 and was named D. Maria II, but popularly became known as Ponte Pênsil, because as the name indicates, it was built on the suspension system or supported by iron, which rises 10 meters above the average water level, and allowed a span of 170 meters,.

The Ponte Pênsil – officially D. Maria II – is a beautiful work for the time, by the engineers Bigot and Mellet.

This was the first fixed construction built under the Douro River, and it was active for about 45 years, until it was replaced by the Luiz I Bridge, which was built next to it.

It was inaugurated in 1842 and demolished in 1887 to make way for the bridge that honoured the king of the time: D. Luís I.

D. Maria Pia Bridge
4 October, 2021 / , , ,

It was designed by engineer Theophile Seyrig and inaugurated in October 1877.

It had 150 workers from Eiffel Constructions Métalliques, and used 1,600,000 kg of iron.

It was the first construction to take into account the effects of the region’s winds, and despite the complexity of the bridge it did not take even 2 years to build.

The dimensions of the width of the river and the surrounding escarpments, required the construction of the largest iron arch in the world, with a span of 160m, and a deck of 352m, 61m away from the average water level of the river. It was a construction at the limit of the possibilities of metallic construction. At the time, this bridge was an engineering feat that dazzled the Portuguese and foreigners alike.

It marked the arrival of the railway to the city of Porto, and the connection between Porto and the south at the railway level was its function. It made it possible to complete the railway connection between Porto and Lisbon which, at the time, ended at Devesas station in Vila Nova de Gaia. It had a profound impact on the economy of the region, as the city of Porto became the hub of a set of important railway lines and allowed the reordering of the urban fabric according to the location of the stations.

The inauguration party on 4 November 1877 was a great success, presided over by King Luís I and Queen Maria Pia, after whom it was named.

The crowds came to watch the memorable spectacle, filling the surroundings of the “work of art”, waving handkerchiefs as the first train crossed the bridge, with 24 carriages and around 1200 people on board.
The safety of the bridge has been amply proven with the passage of trains for over 100 years.
It is classified as a national monument and is the only Portuguese monument on the American Society of Engineering’s list of great engineering works.

With the appearance of the new São João Bridge, the D Maria Pia bridge was decommissioned on 1 June 1991, and since that day it has been patiently awaiting the future, with the restoration of this work of art a priority.

Writers’ route through Porto ( Raul Brandão )
5 April, 2021 / ,

He was born at no. 12 of what was then Rua da Bela Vista, in Foz do Douro, on March 12th 1867 – the street that later adopted the writer’s name – Raul Brandão.

Being a descendant of fishermen, and Foz being the place where he spent his adolescence and youth, the sea was a recurring theme in his work, as in Os Pescadores.

He was a Portuguese military man, journalist and writer, famous for the realism of his descriptions and the lyricism of his language.

He left an extensive literary and journalistic work that greatly influenced literature in the Portuguese language.
His work influenced so much that the Azorean Islands are known by a colour code that was part of his work “The unknown islands”.

With Júlio Brandão, also an author, he was a playwright, writing Noite de Natal, which went on stage at the D. Maria II National Theatre in 1899.

Raul Germano Brandão was one of the greatest landmarks of Porto’s literature. He died at the age of 63 on December 5th 1930.

He received several honorary initiatives, such as a monument erected in his honour, in the garden of Passeio Alegre

The 150th anniversary of his birth was celebrated with the publication of three works of the writer, one of them with unpublished texts, the last book that Raul Brandão wrote but that had never been published.

The Camellia and Tea … because Camellias can also be drunk
5 April, 2021 /

Tea comes from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis or Chinese rose.

Morphologically the tea plant is a shrub and presents a delicate white flower.
This Camellia species needs acid soils, a warm and humid environment, as in Porto.

For tea production we only collect the young leaves and buds from the crown of the shrub.
We can collect the leaves throughout the year, when new leaves sprout.

Porto has a long and intimate relationship with tea. Their paths crossed somewhere in the 16th century, a Jesuit priest being the first European to come across the tea plant on a mission to China.

It is very possible that the English ships that came to the Douro carrying Port wine on their return trip took with them some camellia plants, perhaps the first to enter that country.

It was probably Catherine of Bragança, married to the English King Charles II, who introduced “5 o’clock tea” to the English court. The love for tea spread throughout the country, and it is a habit that still lasts today.

Costa Brothers Portuguese sailors, to the conquest of Tokyo
25 March, 2021 / , ,

The Costa brothers, as they are known in sailing, Pedro and Diogo, are 24 and 23 years old, respectively, and achieved the last wave of access to the Olympic Games in the World Championship of the Olympic Class held in Vilamoura. In the same championship, they were also vice world champions.

They are Engineering students from FEUP, born in Porto, and have been sailing since they were 6 years old. They only joined in 2012, and in 2014 they started competing internationally.

They were two-time 420 national champions in 2015 and 2016 and that year they achieved a historic achievement for Portugal, they won the 420 World Championship in San Remo.

After the 420 World title, they started the Campaign for the Tokyo Olympic Games and they achieved this feat in Portugal, Vilamoura, at the last opportunity, having, in the medal race, achieved the silver medal. The whole fleet of this world championship is qualified for the 2021 Olympic Games.

Sugestões de Pedro Costa

Bar : Adega Leonor

Restaurante : Alma do Cachorro

Local: Guindais

Sugestões de Diogo Costa

Bar : Miradouro Ignez

Restaurante : Alma do Cachorro

Local: Serra do Pilar

Porto is the city of the Camellias
23 March, 2021 / ,

Porto is a vast garden of Camellias planted along the Douro.

These flowers give life and joy to the city of Porto, during sad and grey winter days.

Even in Porto’s cemeteries there are Camellias.

As a way to celebrate this flower, every year Porto is invaded by the Camellia Week in the 2nd week of March, which unfortunately cannot happen this year.

Organized for the first time in 1984, in the Ferreira Borges Market, this exhibition has travelled to various places in the city, such as the Municipal Library, the Monastery of São Bento da Vitória, Serralves, or the Palácio da Bolsa

Year after year, this event arouses the curiosity and enthusiasm of many camellia admirers, collectors and producers, and invites the public to get to know and appreciate the different species of this winter flower, which today abounds and spreads colours throughout the city’s gardens.

The main growers who, over the years, have perfected the cultivation of this flower, multiplying it in the most varied species, have sprinkled the gardens of the city of Porto with colour and shapes.

Camellias are a natural and cultural heritage of Porto.

Porto is a river among camellias.

So, here are some Places to find Camellias:

– Jardim Botânico
– Palácio de Cristal – Gardens and Library
– Museu Romântico
– Casa Tait
– Jardim S Lazaro
– Rotunda da Boavista
– Antiga Igreja de Cedofeita
– Jardim do Marquês
– Parque da Cidade
– Cemitérios de Agramonte e Prado do Repouso

Luíz I Bridge
5 March, 2021 / ,

One of the most important and popular city landmarks of the Invincible City, is the Luiz I bridge.

It connects the Ribeira do Porto to the quay of Vila Nova de Gaia, and all locals know it, and probably most have had the privilege of crossing it on the upper or lower board.

In 1879, they began to think about the replacement of the Pênsil Bridge, which in conclusion they discovered was not as efficient for the traffic that was growing between Porto and Gaia, and in 1881 it starts but only 5 years later it was inaugurated.

The bridge had two inauguration moments: the upper level was inaugurated on 31 October 1886, on King D. Luiz’s birthday; and the lower level was only inaugurated one year later.

The author of the bridge was Théophile Sevrig, a disciple of Gustav Eiffel, and not the author of the Eiffel Tower himself as many people think.

Between 1886 and 1944 anyone wanting to cross the bridge had to pay a toll, and this amount was paid per person.
Road traffic on the upper level was only prohibited since 2003, the year in which it was adapted to the metro.

This bridge innovated at the time by having two platforms that took into account the two different elevations of the cities. The upper level is 395 metres long, and the lower level 174 metres.

This masterpiece, was the bridge with the longest wrought iron arch in the world, for many years – 172m. Only in 2017 was it surpassed by a Chinese bridge.

In December 2019, the Luiz I Bridge was considered one of the 15 most beautiful bridges in Europe by European Best Destinations, a European consumer and expert organisation promoting tourism and culture in Europe, based in Brussels.

Did you Know?

The name of the bridge is a tribute to the King Dom Luiz I, married to Maria Pia, who had already given the name to the railway bridge.

The people of Porto brought forward the inauguration ceremony to coincide with the King’s birthday, but the story tells that the King didn’t appear, which offended Porto’s population, who removed the royal title from the bridge, naming it just “Luiz I”.

Arrábida Bridge
1 March, 2021 / , , ,

The Arrábida Bridge is an internationally recognised masterpiece of bridge engineering.

When it was completed in 1963, it was the longest span reinforced concrete arch bridge in the world. It is considered a masterpiece of Bridge Engineering. It is 500 metres long and 70 metres above river level.

It is the first large bridge over the Douro River entirely conceived, designed and built by Portuguese Engineering. Its author has signed bridge projects on four continents – the Engineer Edgar Cardoso.

Its construction lasted 7 years (between 1956 and 1963) and the small house from which the construction of the bridge was coordinated is still there. Nowadays it is the Casa D’Oro restaurant.

The Arrábida bridge filled the need for a road link between Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia and was the second bridge to allow this.

Of the various bridges over the Douro River estuary, the Arrábida Bridge is the closest to the estuary.
This bridge was also designed to allow the circulation of pedestrians and, therefore, four lifts were installed, two on each side, which had the capacity for about 25 people. They stopped working for safety reasons.

It is one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, symbol of the City, probably the one that in the future will best symbolize the Porto of the 20th century.
It is Heritage in the noblest sense of the word. And it is where new and beautiful perspectives of Porto are often discovered.
It was classified as a National Monument in the year of its 50th anniversary, in 2013.

Did you Know?

Visits to the arch of the Arrábida Bridge began in 2016, this being the only arch of a bridge that can be visited in Europe – 262 are the steps you have to climb to visit it.