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Porto, Portugal

15 Oct Posted by in Europe, Portugal | Comments
Porto, Portugal
 
Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal
Image Credits:Abhijeet Rane

Porto is the second largest city of Portugal, after Lisbon. It is situated at point where the river Douro discharges to the Atlantic Ocean and is built on a hilly terrain. The river marks the division between the city of Porto and the city of Vila Nova de Gaia but the division is purely administrative. The site where Porto now exists is to known to be inhabited since pre-Roman times but became an important port city during Roman rule. Porto fell under Muslim rule during the invasion of the Moors in 711 but was re-conquered in 868 and did not undergo any other political changes until the establishment of the Portuguese state. During the age of exploration, when Portugal rose to major sea power, Porto increased its importance as a port city.

Ribeira, the historic centre of the city of Porto is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because:

“The site is of outstanding universal value as the urban fabric and its many historic buildings bear remarkable testimony to the development over the past thousand years of a European city that looks outward to the west for its cultural and commercial links.” (from Unesco World Heritage)

Porto is most famous for the outstanding architecture of its buildings that range between gothic, baroque and modern style and has attained the status of an architectural Mecca in recent times. There are many sights archeological and other sites worth seeing during your visit:

  • The Museu de Arte Contemporânea (modern art museum) and Casa da Música (music hall) are the finest examples of modern architecture that can be found in the city.
  • Porto is renowned for its wine production. You may find wine cellars in the Ribeira Gaia district, in the other side of the river.
  • The church of Sao Francisco and The Stock Exchange Palace are also must see sites
  • The Photography Museum
  • Livraria Lello which is regarded as the most beautiful bookshop in Europe; there you can browse books while enjoying a cup of coffee.
  • Other activities in Porto include cruises up the Douro River or, if you are a soccer fanatic, a visit to the home stadium of FC Porto, one of Europe’s best known soccer teams.

Porto has many restaurants and Cafes and you will not find it difficult to try something new everyday. Make sure to taste the famous Tripas à moda do Porto, a tripe dish to which the inhabitants of Porto owe their nickname, “tripeiros”, which means tripe eaters. You can also attend the fish festival that takes place in July where you can taste fresh fish prepared for you on the spot.

The city will be at its best during summer. The weather will be hot but you can expect cool breezes blowing from the side of the Atlantic Ocean. Alongside the river Douro there will be many parties and music will be blasting from the numerous cafes and bars, creating a lovely upbeat atmosphere.

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