Rich with history, culture and spectacular architecture, there’s really no other place in the world quite like Porto.
Porto is exceptional. In more ways than one. Elected Best European Destination for several times by the travellers from 174 countries, has also been the European Capital of Culture in the year of 2001.
Porto, the “Cidade Invicta” (unvanquished city) is renowned by his history, architecture, culture, gastronomy, trade, encounters and discoveries.
This is a friendly city with a strong heartbeat that you can feel every way you go.
Porto has all the charm of towns which happily cohabit with their river and sea.
Then why has Oporto won for several times the Best European Destination?
What does this city has that mesmerised so many people from 174 countries in the past few years?
Porto is a famous city for its wine, Port Wine, is that enough to win this price? NO!
Back in the 90´s decade the traveller profile that visited Porto, was clearly looking to taste the Port Wine and got astonished by this bourgeois city.
A city full of life since the Bronze Age, from Celtic folk, too Romans, Muslims, Episcopal Village, French invasions, to a strong Jewish presence, Porto has seen it all.
This multi cultural mark as forged the architecture, the looks, the arts, the gastronomy, but most of all its people.
Then it’s not odd to understand the astonishment that this by the river city did to its tourists.
What started to be a walled city, with its Sé Cathedral from the XII century, evolved in the XIV century to a luxury residence for the bourgeois and cleric elite, who have centralised the life and business of traders and merchants.
In the XVIII century Porto architecture got monumental, identified as baroque Porto, with great works from Italian artist Nicolau Nasoni as the Church and Clérigos Tower or the Freixo Palace.
At the XIX century many things changed in Porto.
After some political instability and the french invasions, part of the downtown near the river was destroyed, this coincided with the industrial revolution and increasing number of labour hand arriving at the city.
The opening of new traffic arteries, and the need of housing demanded new territory, and Porto smiled to the next door margin, a number of bridges were built in that time, the most emblematic where made by the french engineer Gustave Eiffel, famous for the Eiffel tower in Paris, to Porto he presented Dona Maria Bridge a railroad bridge, and Luiz I Bridge who was designed by the Belgian Théophile Seyrig an Eiffel disciple.
The XX century also brought to the city another two landmarks, the São Bento Rail station and the Arrábida Bridge, that at the time of its construction was the world largest arch bridge using reinforced concrete.
Well you guessed, Porto continues its metamorphosis in the XXI century, with buildings like Casa da Música, or innovative corporate brands who use architecture has a meaning to communicate to the city and to the world.
Porto colourful streets and the sweetness of its locals awaits you.
Porto is a by the river paradise!
Its discovery should be made by those who are addicted to design and gastronomy.
It’s mandatory a visit to the wine cellars and taste the Port Wine there.
Between the traditional markets and the most contemporary stores, a walking discovery is also recommended, has it is like visiting an outdoor museum full of street art and impressive mural and architecture from many periods.
Speaking of art, you must take time to visit the mecca of Porto art, the Serralves Museum.
Built in 18 hectares of the Park of Serralves, with gardens until you lose sight, it shelters the Serralves house an unique example of Art Deco in the country, cinema is also present, with the House of Cinema Manoel De Oliveira, a world famous Director who was born in Porto, and finally the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art.
The project was developed by Alvaro Size Vieira one of the world most recognised architects. With 3,5 hectares, its harmoniously integrated with the urban surroundings and the pre-existing spaces of the park.
It’s already an international reference of contemporary art expositions, and walking inside is like a masterclass in architecture.
Once a year occurs an art marathon in this park, 40 hours of music, theater, dance, circus, cinema, art performing, workshops, dj acting and expositions.
Places like Livraria Lello, a bookstore that is one of the most beautiful in the world, became extra famous as one of JK Rowling’s favourite inspirational places when she lived in Porto and began developing the Harry Potter series.
All of the by the river downtown, filled with history, alleys, pubs, restaurants, with bridges that cross the Douro River to the other margin Vila Nova de Gaia, where you can visit the wine cellars, taste the Porto wine, taste the food with a magnificent view of Porto city.
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