Porto, PT

Porto is shaped by its people – some remain, others live in memories through some of the city´s symbols. This space has always been home to endless people. It embraces those who practiced their faith in the churches and allowed themselves to be amazed by the vibrant blue tiles adorning their outsides, and the small balconies in every other house that embody the aesthetics of the religious and civil architecture of Porto. It embraces those who prefer to wander around at night and appreciate the area´s nightlife. The music, the happy mood, and the interaction between people from all corners of the world. It embraces the students of the University of Porto, running over the stones of Clérigos Street, as they look towards the future, filling Aliados Avenue with the colors of each faculty – an authentic rainbow full of hearts that will always remember Porto as home. My Porto, here I learned to dream on moonlit nights, now I´m leaving crying¸ as the city´s fado groups often sing. It embraces those who still remember the sunny afternoons spent with the family in João Chagas Garden (Cordoaria Garden), where innocence and the simplicity of life reigned. Pure happiness. It embraces those who inhabited the space in other times and who are remembered today through the structures that remain in the city.

From the medieval period onwards, Porto developed through its upper part, on Morro da Penaventosa, where the Cathedral demarcates the significance and value of Faith in the life of the city. Walking through some of the narrowest and winding streets, until reaching the Cathedral, feels like traveling back to medieval times, where mystery prevailed. For a very long time, people’s lives evolved according to two primary elements – their role in society and their faith. The toponymy of the streets embodies this form of organization, evoking the memory of those who inhabited the space. Caldeireiros Street, the place of residence for individuals who worked with copper and brass, organized into fraternities whose tangible remains are still visible presently. Flores Street, a well-known local of residence for goldsmiths in times gone by, accommodates multiple commercial establishments. Book enthusiasts usually love to immerse themselves in the impressive variety of options Chaminé da Mota offers, one of the largest bookshops in the country. The Museum and Church of Santa Casa da Misericórdia do Porto, also located on this street, are an outstanding option to value the cultural heritage of one of the most remarkable welfare institutions of the city. Clérigos Street and its magnificent church and tower, with 75.6 meters high, designed by Nicolau Nasoni, allow us to acknowledge the city’s investment in the arts. It’s one of the most iconic buildings in the city and for those who dare to climb the tower’s countless steps, the reactions of amazement for the panoramic view it offers over the whole city never disappoint. São Bento da Vitória and São Miguel Street symbolize the transformation of the area from a Jewish space to a Catholic one, during the Modern Period, where the Church of Nossa Senhora da Vitória and the Monastery of São Bento da Vitória were founded, attributing their names to this space.

The admiration for Porto´s Historic Centre landmarks is constant. The Miradouro da Vitória is one of the most privileged viewpoints to explore the breathtaking scenery. The unique details of the landscape and the charming architecture, with its buildings of various sizes, colors and shapes, contribute to the feeling of being submerged in a painting. A true work of art, full of life. During the popular festivities in June, the city is taken by a wave of joy, especially for fireworks enthusiasts. The unique atmosphere hanging in the air rises into the sky and bursts into a fire that illuminates everyone. It´s a fact – Porto has had an astonishing capacity to adjust to the transformations of time.

Times intertwined, people who bond, and spaces that connect. The physical connection is easily found in a masterpiece of iron architecture – the Luiz I Bridge – shaped by one of Gustave Eiffel´s colleagues. Every day, this bridge enables commuters to cross between Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, the neighboring city where stands the Monastery of Serra do Pilar, a significant liberal stronghold during the conflicts between them and absolutists in the 19th century. The link between these two spaces physically divided is the main character of this History – Douro River. It is through its flow that the city´s life echoes, nurturing its people and their lives. Porto´s commercial magnetism, its historical bonds with Flandres, England, and the Hanseatic League, alongside the wine trade, are facets that uncover the value of Douro, and the impetus it gave to the blooming of the city. Crossing this river aboard a rabelo boat towards the lowest point in Porto, Ribeira, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it is essential to recognize the vitality of this area. The wine, the lupin beans, the music, the seagulls, and the smiles of the people emphasize the distinctiveness of Porto´s landscape, the kindness of those who live there, and the happiness of its visitors.

The area listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 – the Historic Centre of Porto, the Luiz I Bridge and The Monastery of Serra do Pilar – captures the identity of the city. And Porto is undoubtedly unlike any other city. It is notable for the improvement of its urban space, its versatility to constant challenges, and for the prominent personalities who have achieved national and international fame. Porto is all of them, and all the people who built it every day. Porto is made up of friendship and love stories, happiness, and memories that remain in the hearts of those who have the privilege of having once set foot in the ancient, very noble, always loyal and, as any good inhabitant would say, Invicta city of Porto. Porto is a feeling. Its heart and soul are its people.