THE CITY OF PORTO
Porto originated as a pre-Roman settlement. In the Roman era, it was called Cale or Portus Cale, which is the origin of the name Portugal.
The coat of arms of the city includes the image of Our Lady. Hence the fact that Porto is also known as the “city of the Virgin”, an epithet that must be joined with that of “Antiga, Mui Nobre, Sempre Leal e Invicta [Old, Very Noble, Always Loyal, and Undefeated]”, which was attributed to it over the centuries and as a result of the brave deeds of its inhabitants.
It was within its city walls that the marriage of the king, D. João I, to the English princess, Philippa of Lancaster, took place. The city prides itself on being the birthplace of the Infante D. Henrique, the Navigator.
As one of the many sacrifices that they had to make to support the raising of the armada that departed for the conquest of Ceuta in 1415, the population of Porto offered all the available meat to the crusaders and were left with only the pork intestines for food. They created a delicious dish from them that today is mandatory on the menu of any restaurant. Therefore, the natives of Porto gained the nickname “tripeiros”, or those who eat tripe, an expression that is more endearing than pejorative.
It played a fundamental role in defending the ideals of liberalism in the battles of the 19th century. Indeed, the courage with which the city endured the siege of the Miguelist troops during the Civil War of 1832-1834, the famous Siege of Porto, and the valorous deeds of its inhabitants, earned them the title, awarded by the queen, D. Maria II, of the Invicta Cidade do Porto, the Undefeated City of Porto – a title that is unique among the other cities of Portugal.
Porto is a charming city, located on the banks of the Rio Douro close to its mouth. The Historical Centre was classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, due to its beautiful monuments and historical buildings, such as the imposing cathedral or the Torre dos Clérigos. Porto is the second largest city in Portugal, and has superb views of the world famous Port Wine Cellars on the opposite bank of the river, in Vila Nova de Gaia. Porto offers a harmonious synthesis of old and new attractions.
The district of Porto is a dynamic centre of business and industry, full of pretty villages and prosperous cities. Along the coast, you can take a break in the seaside city of Espinho, dine on flavourful fish in Matosinhos, or unwind for a while at the Casino da Póvoa. In the interior, visit the beautiful city of Amarante, known for its delicious pastries, where you can take a ride along the banks of the Rio Tâmega with its elegant 17th century estates.