Curiosities About The City Of Porto


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Catarina Carneiro

The streets of Porto keep secrets that only the inhabitants of Porto know about. However, Porto by Livraria Lello reveals some interesting curiosities about the city. Nonetheless, we advise you to take a walk around Porto and ask some questions to Porto’s inhabitants in order to discover more secrets and curiosities.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

During 1940 and 1950, Porto was a city that didn’t have funds, which ended up being an opportunity for the success of this city in these past few years. Since the city didn’t have financial capacity back then, it wasn’t possible to come into force a revitalization project that would have demolished a large proportion of the historic area.

And because of that, the historic centre of Porto was recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Today, each corner and street of the city tell secrets of another time.

The port wine revolution

If, before, it was believed that port wine was only drank as a digestive or wrapped up as a Christmas gift, nowadays the same doesn’t happen.

The new generations appreciate more what is Portuguese and the port wine is no exception. It was even created the cocktail Porto Tónico, a rival to the cocktail Gin Tonic.

The port wine cellars are getting more sophisticated, with better bars and restaurants.

The wine bars are becoming a great trend in Porto, receiving many visits from both Portuguese people and foreign tourists.

The nightlife in Porto

All around Europe, it is heard only good things about the nightlife of Porto. And there are several reasons for those compliments.

The bars and discos are located in the centre of the city, close to each other, which allows people to walk easily.

There are many options for different preferences, from rock to commercial music, from electronic music to Latin Music.

Most of the bars from Rua das Galerias de Paris have free entrance.

Besides, it is allowed to drink alcohol in the streets of Porto and in Portugal, unlike other European touristic cities.

The traditions of São João/

In the night of June 23rd to 24th, the inhabitants of Porto go out to the streets to celebrate São João. They celebrate it by eating grilled sardines, launching balloons into the sky and using colourful plastic hammer to hit the heads of the people that are passing by.

It is believed that whoever jumps a bonfire, in an odd number and at least three times, is protected from harm until the next year.

Through the streets of Porto it is heard Portuguese folk music and everyone sings and dances to the sound of Portuguese folk artists.

At midnight, everyone looks up to the sky to contemplate the usual firework display of São João.

“Tripas à Moda do Porto”

The legend says that in 1415, in the middle of the Age of Discovery, the inhabitants of Porto donated all its meat to the fleet that left Porto to the conquest of Ceuta, having only the meat entrails to eat, giving origin to one of the most famous Porto’s dishes, “Tripas à Moda do Porto”. Another myth says that this dish has its origin during the French Revolution, that during the Siege of Porto, the city was so depleted of food that the only available food were the entrails. Which myth is the true? We will never know…

The history of D. Luís Bridge

In the early XX century, Porto witnessed one of the major floods in its history. This flood was so strong that the Douro river rose to the point of being a mere 80 centimetres away from the lower floor of D. Luis Bridge. This situation put the entire bridge structure in danger of collapse. Having in consideration the potential tragedy it was thought to demolish the bridge in a measure of emergency…

Yes, you read that right, and the method of choice was to blow it with explosives.


FCP Porto’s Time Capsule

In 2004, the elements of FC Porto football team, winners of the UEFA Champions League, signed an official match ball and the team’s captain, and goalkeeper, Vitor Baía left his gloves in a time capsule that will dug up and opened in 20154 by UEFA officials. (If you want to know more about this time capsule, you can read here.)

FC Porto is the only Portuguese club that is represented in this UEFA’s time capsule.


The rules of the wine tasters

The wine tasters of Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e do Porto are subjected to strict rules for the process of wine certification. One of the major curiosities about this wine tasters is that they can’t use shampoos with an intense smell, neither can use perfume, since these aromas might contaminate the tastings.

The port wine glass

In 2011 it was presented the official glass to drink port wine. This glass was designed and created by the famous Porto’s architect Álvaro Siza Vieira, after being invited by the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto to design the glass.

This glass is manufactured in Germany and it is used by many restaurants and bars of Porto.