Porto - a City to Die For!
Porto is a stunningly beautiful place. A hundred years ago it was descibed as the Manchester of Portugal (a compliment, it doesn't rain as much). It still is a large manufacturing city and a thriving one too, in spite of the current state of the Portuguese economy. For today's traveller it is Portugal's rich history and stunning architecture - medieval, classical and modern - that catches the eye. Porto is a large place and yet varied. Wander round the lovely squares, the authentic old markets and restaurants, the port wine lodges, the great bridges that span the Douro (one made by Eiffel), the Ribeira (river-side) or the sea front at Foz-Atlantico.
Porto is a little larger than Bristol and welcomes visitors, of course, but it is true to itself, to its past and to its significant place in Portugal's history, for Portugal gave its name to not only to the fortified wine for which it is rightly famous, but to the nation as a whole.
Porto is Portugal's second city and there is a certain rivalry with Lisbon. Porto's ancient roots have been preserved with pride and a modern and lively commerce makes it a thriving place. Its traditional importance as as an industrial centre does not dinimish the charm and character ot its old medieval quarter, recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The cathedral deserves to be explored and also the Renaissance church of Santa Clara. Porto has stunning and impressive monuments, including the Clerigos (the tallest building in Portugal in its time) and the magnificence of the great column at Boavista commemorating the defeat of Napoleon's armies in the Peninsular War, by Portuguese and British troops commanded by the Duke of Wellington.
Equally lively and colourful is the market of Bolhão, where you can buy almost anything, but, by contrast, Porto has new and busy avenues, elegant shops and fashionable restaurants and bars.
Spectacular bridges span the Douro leading to Vila Nova de Gaia and the port wine lodges where names are familiar: Cockburn's (pronounced Co-burns), Taylor's, Croft's, Graham's and others.
Do not Forget FC Porto (Futebal Clube do Porto, Porto Football Club), the most successful Portuguese football club. The supporters are known as Dragões - Dragons. Here is a link to their website (in English).
On the subject of football, the recent win by Portugal was a cause of sorrow for a French fan. However, a Portuguese boy showed sympathy in a most sportsmanlike manner. Watch the video here.
Now enjoy the slideshow below (autoplay):
A wonderful series of 360º views of Porto can be found at this link (in Portuguese): www.ocholeguas.com/2014/06/25/europa/1403689479.html
For those considering investing in Porto, please see this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9nJJbawi-c&authuser=0
Porto has recently started on a programme of modernising and refreshing its cultural identity. For more information, click here.
A wonderful selection of timelapses of Porto may be found here.
That redoutable journal, "The New York Times", has just published some travel advice for Porto which is very informative. Click here.
"The Independent" has just published an excellent article on Porto. Click here.
The Mercado de Bolhão (Bolhão Market) has been mentioned several times on this website and features in the slideshow above. However, plans are afoot to demolish it.