Are you thinking of traveling to Porto Portugal? Porto Portugal is a wonderful place to visit with beautiful views and many attractions. Porto is Portugal’s second largest city, the largest city in the region and it is the center of economics and culture.
Porto includes 15 civil parishes and in 1996, UNESCO acknowledged the historic centre of Porto as a World Heritage Site. Porto was named after the Latin name of Portus Cale. In Roman times, Porto became famous as a commercial port in trading with Olissipona (now Lisbon) and Bracara Augusta (now Braga). In 1387, Porto was the setting for the marriage of João I and Philippa of Lancaster. The marriage symbolized the ancient alliance between Portugal and England. This is the world’s oldest military alliance still held today by NATO. The English shipyards aided in the construction of the Portuguese fleet in the 14th and 15th centuries. Porto is also called “Cidade Invista” which means unvanquished city because it resisted the Napoleonic Imperial Army. A revolt by republications in the late 19th century led to the creation of the Portuguese Republic. Porto is a port located in northern Portugal in the estuary of the Douro River, 8 km (5 miles) from the Atlantic Ocean and 273 km (170 miles) north of Lisbon. It covers an area of 92,391 square kilometers, including the Azores and Madeira Islands. The estimated population is approximately 240,000 (as of 2008). Porto’s serene beauty makes it a very desirable destination. Porto is called the Granite City for the wonderful architecture. The churches and buildings in the historic centre were constructed out of granite and iron. The narrow winding cobbled streets also contribute to the great scenery. The various bridges offer breathtaking views of land and sea. The Coliseu do Porto is a concert hall of rare beauty and elegance as well. Porto is one of the most industrialized cities in Portugal. It was recognized as the European Capital of Culture in 2001, a title shared with Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Port wine, one of Portugal’s world known products, is named after the city because it is made and shipped from Vila Nova de Gaia, which is a city that is just across the river from Porto. The local products include textiles and clothing. Portugal’s biggest exporter, Petrogal has one its two refineries near Porto.The population of Porto has dropped by almost 100,000 since the 1980s, but the number of permanent residents in the outskirts and satellite cities has grown tremendously. Porto is ranked 3rd in the Portuguese most livable cities in a survey published yearly by Expresso. The people of Portugal are referred to this day as “tripeiros” because high quality meat would be loaded onto ships to feed the sailors and the people of Porto would eat off-cuts such as tripe. Tripe is a culturally important dish in modern day Porto. There are many great places to go and things to do in Porto. There are many hotels surrounding the UNESCO World Heritage area. The best restaurants are on the riverfront. Seafood is fresh and meat is very popular since Portuguese are big meat eaters. The city’s most remarkable landmark is the Torre dos Clérigos, a 250-foot 18th- century bell tower. Another 18th century structure is the Tower of the Clérigos Church. The Oporto Cathedral is the oldest existing building. There are landmarks from the 19th and 20th centuries such as the Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa) and the Hospital of Saint Anthony. A guided visit to the Arab Room of the Palácio da Bolsa is a very popular tourist attraction. The best-known museums are the National Museum Soares dos Reis and the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Serralves Foundation. There are also many wine companies with tours of the cellars and wine tasting as well as many other attractions to visit. Porto, Portugal is a great travel destination. Who wouldn’t want to see Europe’s Capital of Culture along with the great serene beauty the city has to offer!