Porto dates back to the 400s and the Roman Empire. It existed long before the founding of Portugal, and was knows as Portus Cale (Harbor of Cale) in ancient times. The region was therefore referred to as Portuguese county, which later transformed into the kingdom of Portugal.
Famous Italian architect Nasoni designed the city symbol, which is the Tower of the Clerigos, in 1754.
Porto enjoyed steady development as an economic center throughout the 1700s and 1800s, which had a positive influence on city affairs. The Dom Luis I bridge, the Maria Pia railway bridge, main train station Sao Bento, and Aula de Nautica University were all built during these ages. An interesting fact is that the Maria Pia was the first masterpiece by Gustav Eiffel, completed in 1877. Porto’s bridges are a major element of transport infrastructure as well as monuments testifying to the uniqueness of this city. Teofilo Seyrig designed the Luis I Bridge over the Douro River, which was completed in 1886. The height of the arch is 44.6 m and the total length of its cord is 172 m.
There are many modern bridges from the last century too. There is Arrabida in the western part of Porto, intended for high-speed traffic and possessing the largest supporting arc in the world. The Freixo lies in the eastern part of the city, and S. Joao has replaced the Maria Pia. The most recent construction (completed in 2003) is Ponte do Infante.
Another interesting fact: the country of Portugal and Port Wine were both named after Porto. It is safe to say that Port Wine is the most famous Portuguese product worldwide. Its name emerged because it ages in Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto’s sister city. Brandy is added in the course of its production, giving it the particular taste it is known for.
Porto is an industrial center, so successful that it has become known as the Capital of the North. An adventurous spirit, traditional dishes, and individual culture are some of the many aspects it has become famous for.
Porto boasts many monuments and attractions. The most famous museums are National Museum Soares dos Reis, devoted to national art movements of the 1800s and 1900s, and the Serralves Foundation’s Contemporary Art Museum. Porto also features the Rivoli Theatre, Batalha cinema and Coliseu do Porto, a gem of architecture that embodies native artistic traditions.
Buses, subways, and cabs provide travellers with excellent connections to all areas of the city. A large bus network covers Porto. The city had trolleys in the past.
The city was ranked Cultural Capital of Europe along with Rotterdam in 2001. Its historic center, which goes back to medieval and Roman times, had the honor of UNESCO World Heritage Site conferred upon it.
Another interesting place to visit is the old Bolsa stock exchange. It was united with Lisbon stock exchange, and both were integrated into Euronext at a later point.
A series of fascinating buildings decorate this picturesque city – Allies Avenue, Palacio Gardens, churches dating back to Roman times, and the Sao Bento Station with its exquisite tiles on the façade as well as the interior. Film lovers should not miss the Fantasporto Film Festival of the city, if their visit should coincide with this exciting event.