Oporto is a Portuguese city that started out as nothing more than a small settlement on the shores of the River Duoro. Due to its geographical position, during the period when the Romans governed the city, it was a strategic point of the trade route between Braga and Lisbon. The city’s original name was Portus Cale and this is where the country got its name.
Oporto is marked by an exciting history and traditions dating back to when the city was founded, around the 1st century B.C. Since so many people are interested in experiencing the charms of this magnificent place, it is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.
If you would like to go on holiday to Oporto, this article will tell you everything you need to know about this wonderful city.
Portugal’s second capital:
Oporto is considered to be Portugal’s second capital city and, it is also the second biggest in terms of the number of inhabitants and size, after Lisbon, with which it has always competed for economic power.
Since it is the main commercial centre in this region of the country, Oporto is known as the Capital of the North. It is also a highly industrialised area, and the headquarters of many of Portugal’s most important business groups are located there.
The main offices of the main Portuguese newspaper groups are also located in Oporto, including the largest national daily, Jornal de Notícias.
The Portuguese city of wine:
The history of wine in Portugal goes back centuries. It is said that the Romans, who ruled the country for 500 years, grew vines and produced wine on the banks of the River Duoro, where the city of Oporto is now located.
The area’s wine gained its international reputation during the commercial boom between England and Portugal, in the second half of the 15th century.
Port wine is classified as one of Europe’s classic wines, offering a great variety of production styles. One of the most distinctive national wines, ¨Vintage Port¨, is always placed among the best wines in the world.
This wine is normally served with cheese after meals, as a digestive, although it can also be served as an aperitif.
The city of bridges:
As I have already mentioned, Oporto is a fascinating city, steeped in history and tradition, although the signs of modernisation are also evident.
Oporto has been christened as the “ City of Bridges”, making it a truly attractive place for visitors wishing to visit to observe the various architectonic styles reflected in their designs.
One worth highlighting is the Don Luis I Bridge, considered to be one the city’s most emblematic sites. Built in 1886, this project was the work of one of Gustave Eiffel’s disciples. It is one of the bridges found along the River Duoro and connects Oporto with the city of Vila Nova de Gaia.
The old quarter:
The city’s old quarter was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. This part of Oporto is home to its most emblematic buildings and is the perfect place to get close to the region’s history.
During your visit to the old quarter, you can see the Palacio de la Bolsa, an important national monument built in the 19th century that is distinctive due to its exquisite, neoclassical-style architecture.
You can also visit Oporto Cathedral, which is one of the city’s oldest buildings, or the Clérigos Tower, declared a National Monument in 1910.
Other buildings of great heritage value in the old quarter include the Episcopal Palace and the Town Hall.
It goes without saying that such a special place also has a centuries-old culinary culture. The gastronomy of Oporto is also unique in comparison to other cities.
One of the most popular traditional dishes is ¨ Tripas à Moda do Porto¨. This dish consists of tripe and meat fat accompanied by bread or white beans.
Another typical recipe of this region is ¨Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá¨ and, although this dish originates in Oporto, it is a popular dish throughout the country. Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá is made with cod, potatoes, eggs, olives, onion and olive oil.
As you can see, all these reasons make Oporto an exciting city to visit, meeting all the requirements to put it at the top of your list of future trips.