This is one of Europe's oldest tourist destinations. Its wealth of artistic heritage, Port Wine, open-air leisure spaces and cultural life are just some of the reasons to visit this city.
The city unfolds along the river bank and the sea shore, to reveal charming vistas, inviting esplanades and all the pleasures of the outdoors, framed by its green spaces. But setting out to discover Porto means bumping into surprise after surprise. Whilst maintaining its welcoming and conservative nature, the city is, at the same time, contemporary and creative. This can be seen in its streets, its architectures, its museums, its leisure spaces, its esplanades and its shopping areas which run from the traditional to the modern and exclusive.
Porto’s Historical Centre was designated World Cultural Heritage in 1996 and its natural setting and its meandering streets give it a unique charm.
Port wine is present in the city in a multitude of forms and sensations: you can get to know it and try it, but never ignore it or forget it.
Having witnessed a long history of cultural ebbs, flows and eddies caused by successive waves of occupation, and often surrounded and invaded, but always remaining Invicta (unbowed), the city of Porto is really a living heritage, one that regenerates and reinvents itself, whilst maintaining its core character, grounded in granite and, thus, unshakeable.
In the course of the second half of the eighteenth century Porto underwent great urban and architectural changes. Under the guidance of João de Almada e Melo, a plan was laid out which foresaw the renovation of the old city and the structuring of zones that had developed outside the city walls. The co-ordination of the building work was a responsibility of the “Junta das Obras Públicas” and was financed by a tax on the wine trade.
The reconstruction of the Ribeira Square, the opening of new roads and the creation of riverbank esplanades are signs of a new spirit and a taste for more open, lit spaces for both function and leisure.
The construction of the Santo António Hospital, one of many buildings given to the city by the Almadas, introduced the neopalladian style to the city, which at the time was the dominating architecture in England. This is clearly shown by the influence of the English community, especially through the Consul, John Whitehead, creator of one of the structures that mark the era: the English Factory. These buildings already show solutions that would be used in the civil and religious buildings that followed: mezzanines, smooth-surfaced façades, classic colonnades and pediments, guillotine windows.
The neo-classical civil buildings in Porto are the following:
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