Porto, capital of the north

Sunday, 30 August 2015 - 06:09 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, European Union, European Capital of Culture, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  5 minutes

Ribeira © Georges Jansoone

Ribeira © Georges Jansoone

Porto, also known as Oporto in English, is the second largest city in Portugal and one of the major urban areas in the Iberian Peninsula. Its administrative limits includes a population of 237,559 inhabitants distributed within 15 civil parishes. The urbanized area of Porto, which extends beyond the administrative limits of the city, has a population of 1.2 million in an area of 389 km2 (150 sq mi), making it the second-largest urban area in Portugal. The Porto Metropolitan Area includes approximately 1.3 million people, and is recognized as a Gamma-level global city by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Study Group, being one of the four cities in the peninsula with global city status (the others being Madrid, Lisbon and Barcelona).

Located along the Douro river estuary in northern Portugal, Porto is one of the oldest European centres, and registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. Its settlement dates back many centuries, when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire. Its Latin name, Portus Cale, has been referred to as the origin for the name “Portugal,” based on transliteration and oral evolution from Latin. In Portuguese the city is spelled with a definite article as “o Porto” (English: the port). Consequently, its English name evolved from a misinterpretation of the oral pronunciation and referred to as “Oporto” in modern literature and by many speakers.

One of Portugal’s internationally famous exports, port wine, is named for Porto, since the metropolitan area, and in particular the adegas of Vila Nova de Gaia, were responsible for the production and export of the fortified wine.

Magestic Café © flickr.com - Fofo University of Porto © UP Salão Árabe in Palácio da Bolsa © Josep Renalias © Georges Jansoone © Georges Jansoone © Georges Jansoone © Georges Jansoone © Georges Jansoone Rem Koolhaass Concert Hall © Manuel de Sousa Portuguese wine center Oporto © flickr.com - Abhijeet Rane Metro on Ponte e Porto © JFVP Clérigos Church and Tower © Josep Renalias City hall © Alan Ford Church of Corpo Santo de Massarelos © Georges Jansoone Barrels of Port Wine © flickr.com - Peter Avenida dos Aliados © flickr.com - ho visto nina volare Historical part of Porto, seen from Vila Nova de Gaia trough Douro river © Olegivvit Ribeira © Georges Jansoone
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Historical part of Porto, seen from Vila Nova de Gaia trough Douro river © Olegivvit
Among the architectural highlights of the city, Oporto Cathedral is the oldest surviving structure, together with the small romanesque Church of Cedofeita, the gothic Igreja de São Francisco (Church of Saint Francis), the remnants of the city walls and a few 15th-century houses. The baroque style is well represented in the city in the elaborate gilt work interior decoration of the churches of St. Francis and St. Claire (Santa Clara), the churches of Mercy (Misericórida) and of the Clerics (Igreja dos Clérigos), the Episcopal Palace of Porto, and others. The neoclassicism and romanticism of the 19th and 20th centuries also added interesting monuments to the landscape of the city, like the magnificent Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa), the Hospital of Saint Anthony, the Municipality, the buildings in the Liberdade Square and theAvenida dos Aliados, the tile-adorned São Bento Train Station and the gardens of the Crystal Palace (Palácio de Cristal). A guided visit to the Palácio da Bolsa, and in particular the Arab Room, is a major tourist attraction.

In 2001, Porto shared the designation European Culture Capital. In the scope of these events, the construction of the major concert hall space Casa da Música, designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, was initiated and finished in 2005.

Due to its prolonged existence, the city of Porto carries an immense architectural patrimony. From the Romanesque Cathedral to the Social Housing projects developed through the late 20th century, much could be said surrounding Architecture. Porto is home to the Porto School of Architecture, one of the most prestigious architecture schools in Europe and the world. It is also home to two earners of the Pritzker Architecture Prize (two former students of the aforementioned school): Álvaro Siza Vieira and Eduardo Souto de Moura.

Read more on City of Porto, Porto Tourism, Porto University, Wikitravel Porto and Wikipedia Porto. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organisations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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