Porto, World Heritage City
Updated: Nov 27, 2020
The city of Porto was recently considered by National Geographic Traveller as the most unmissable cultural experience for 2021 ("and beyond") in the world. An honor that happens days after it was also elected the best small city in the world by the international magazine Monocle, which classified it as "a flourishing creative center", and won the World Travel Awards - the "Oscars" of Tourism - in the category of Best City Break in Europe.
Elected best European destination three times (2012, 2014 and 2017), Porto is a city of river and sea, hospitable, both conservative and contemporary. Characteristics to which a unique architectural, landscape, gastronomic and human heritage is added, making it an unforgettable destination.
Since the times of the Roman occupation, which dates back to the 1st century BC, Oporto has always been a city of commercial vocation.
In the 14th century, Porto was already a large and important city, characterized by intense commercial activity and ecclesiastical power. It was by this time that the city grew along the banks of the River Douro, largely due to commercial and maritime activities, beginning to extend outside the wall (Cerca Velha) that bounded the Cathedral of Oporto.
Still in this century, the Cerca Nova, today known as the Fernandina Wall, began to be built. A small part of it still exists, allowing a magical trip back in time to all those who observe it from the viewpoint of the Pilar mountain range, on the opposite bank, or from the Luiz I Bridge, a majestic metallic construction built at the end of the 19th century.
The city played a very important role in the naval development of the country, thanks to its shipyards and the role played by Prince Henry the Navigator, a key figure in the history of Portugal by being responsible for organizing trips to the coast of Africa and numerous maritime expeditions that were the starting point for the great epic of the Portuguese.
It was during this period, at the height of the 15th century, that the inhabitants of Porto earned the nickname "Tripeiros", in an episode that defines well the character of its people.
In 1415, when the Portuguese armada was preparing to conquer Ceuta, in North Africa, the population of Porto offered the combatants all the meat they had, keeping only their guts to feed themselves. From this episode resulted not only the nickname, but also the invention of the dish that still today is part of the gastronomic tradition of the city: the "Tripas à Moda do Porto".
The city has always had a close relationship with its river, currently also serving as a starting point for the Douro region, also a World Heritage Site and origin of the world famous Port Wine.
In 1996, due to the great historical, patrimonial and cultural wealth, Unesco granted to Porto the status of World Heritage City.
Today it is a city visited by thousands of tourists, who are delighted with the winding and picturesque layout of the streets of Porto, its excellent beaches and esplanades, the admirable churches and monuments and the non-conformist modernism of the new contemporary buildings of world-renowned architects.
Besides history and culture, Porto is also leisure, fun and nightlife, as well as a destination of choice for congresses and events.
Here are some of the many places in the city that any visitor should know:
- Port Customs
- Relationship Chain - Portuguese Photography Center
- Majestic Coffee
- Casa Almeida Garrett
- House of Music
- Casa de Serralves and Museum of Contemporary Art
- House of the Infant
- Guerra Junqueiro Museum House
- Port Wine Cellars (V. N. Gaia)
- Historical Center and Ribeira Square
- Convent of São Bento da Vitória
- São Bento Station
- Bessa Stadium
- Estádio do Dragão - FC Porto Museum
- Funicular of Guindais
- Church and Tower of the Clerics
- Jardim do Passeio Alegre
- Crystal Palace Gardens
- Lello Bookstore
- Miradouro da Serra do Pilar (V.N. Gaia)
- Vitória's Belvedere
- Puppet Museum of Porto
- Museum of Sacred Art
- Electric Car Museum
- Port Wine Museum
- National Press Museum
- Soares dos Reis National Museum
- Romantic Museum of Quinta da Macieirinha
- Episcopal Palace
- Stock Exchange Palace and Arab Salon
- Palácio do Freixo
- City Park
- Luiz I Bridge
- Maria Pia Bridge
- Porto Beaches
- Paris Galleries Street
- Miguel Bombarda Street (Art Galleries)
- Cathedral of Porto
- National Theater of São João