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.
The fountain that is at the Jardim do Marquês already has a long history. It was placed here in 2006, after the construction work of the garden, but it literally lit up the Praça D. João I for decades.
The Praça D. João I was only inaugurated in the 40s and with a very modern aura thanks to very tall buildings on its side that are still there to this day. At the time of its construction, one of them was the tallest building in the country. This new square, which served as a connection between the Rua Passos Manuel and the Avenida dos Aliados, built in a place where other buildings once existed, would come to receive outstanding decorative elements: the bronze sculptures “Os Corcéis” (The horses), which are still there, and the fonte luminosa, which has since moved location to the Marquês, despite having lost some of its original elements.
The fountain was placed at the center of the square and, besides having the compass rose drawn on the bottom; it would also light up during the night. It was located in a small roundabout with Portuguese pavement and bushes. At the time, cars and buses would circle around the square, which was surrounded by coffee shops and other commercial establishments that are nowadays entrances to the car park. The imposing fountain was ordered by the owner of an important real estate agency.
With a total area of 83 hectares and around 10km, Parque da Cidade of Porto is the largest urban park in the country and the only one in Europe with a seafront.
The park was designed by the landscape architect Sidónio Pardal, having been inaugurated in 1993 (1st phase) and finished in 2002. In the year 2000, the park was selected by the Ordem dos Engenheiros as one of the “100 most notable works built in the 20th century in Portugal”.
Between lakes, varied fauna and flora, Parque da Cidade also hosts complementary equipment such as Pavilhão da Água and Queimódromo.
Mass of the Rooster is the name given by Catholics to Mass celebrated on Christmas Eve that begins at midnight from December 24 to 25. The phrase “Mass of the Rooster” is specific to Latin countries and derives from the ancestral tale that at midnight on December 24, a rooster would have sung strongly, as never heard before from another similar animal, announcing the coming of the Messiah, son of God, Jesus Christ.
Another tale, of Spanish origin, says that before hitting the 12 rings of the bell at midnight on December 24, each farmer of the province of Toledo in Spain killed a rooster in memory of the one who sang when St. Peter denied Jesus three times, at the time of his death. The bird was then taken to the Church to be offered to the poor who thus saw their Christmas improve. It was customary, in some Spanish villages, to take the rooster to the church to sing during the Mass, signifying a harbinger of good harvests. But that was formerly because now this is forbidden.
The mass of the rooster is usually celebrated with great joy, as it is told in the text about the tradition of the Mass of the Igreja da Lapa.
16 July, 2018 / Did you know?
A wreck in 1975 left traces for two decades. The prow of the tanker Jakob Maersk was stranded for decades by the Castelo do Queijo, as if recalling the tragedy.
On January 29, 1975, the Danish oil tanker Jakob Maersk loaded with 84,000 tons of crude oil, was headed for the Port of Leixões, but it smashed into a rock at the bottom of the sea. The engine room exploded, the ship broke in three and caught fire. The noise of the explosion and the huge cloud of black smoke startled the local population who still remembers that fateful day.
The fire, which lasted three days, was visible hundreds of kilometres away and caused respiratory problems at the time in many inhabitants of Matosinhos. Seven crew members of the boat died, several were injured and the crude oil spread to a great extent.
The central area of the tanker and the stern sank. The prow floated for several days stranded next to the Castelo do Queijo, where it stayed for 20 years until it was removed.
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.
Beer is a favourite drink at any time of the year, but in summertime It is better to accompany a light meal, an afternoon on the terrace, or even at an open-air concert.
Beer and summer blend well and complement each other. Perhaps this is why the Portuguese, as well as great lovers of beer, are also producers of internationally recognized brands. This is the case of Super Bock, made a few kilometres from Porto, which is the only brand on the market to win 36 gold medals from the international Monde Selection da la Qualité. The colour, flavour, foam and body are unique and make it the favourite of the Portuguese and foreigners visiting Portugal. The same brewery also produces Cristal, the oldest beer in the Portuguese market. Existing since 1890, it has also won several gold medals. For those who prefer beer with less alcohol, Cheers ensures the best flavour and lightness.
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.
“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 Historical Organs of the Clérigos continue to function perfectly, despite being more than 200 years old.
They were made by the Spanish Dom Sebastião de Acunha and, like the building in which they are inserted, are a notable example of the Baroque style that characterized the late eighteenth century. The box of the organ on the side of the epistle is surmounted by a moon; the side of the gospel is characterized by a sun. The unification of these two elements refers to the idea of absolute and totality.
In 2015, these organs were played daily, always at the same time (at noon), often with the two historical organs simultaneously and sometimes with the participation of singers. These free concerts enchant the Porto residents and tourists and are another attraction for an already much sought after destination as well as being appreciated by those who visit the city.
In December 2017 Organ Concert # 1000 was celebrated. It was a special day, where two organists and a soprano were in attendance. But every day one can celebrate the long life of these historical pipe organs and enjoy their music.