Porto City Tour
Porto is a busy
industrial and commercial center. The city itself isn’t very populous , with
cities like Gaia, Matosinhos, Maia, Gondomar, and Espinho.
The city was built
along the hills overlooking the Douro river estuary, and its historical center
was awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1996. It has been continuously
inhabited since at least the 4th Century, when the Romans referred to it as
Porto has a
semi-Mediterranean climate, although it’s strongly affected by the Atlantic
ocean, which makes it cooler than other cities with this climate. However,
temperatures can rise as high as 40ºC in August during occasional heat waves.
Winters are mild and humid, with occasional cold nights where temperatures can
drop below 0ºC.
Porto has always
been a mercantile city, and this is evident in the style of the buildings
lining the Avenida dos Aliados, the core of the downtown area. The center of
town, unlike other major Portuguese cities, which tend towards the baroque, is
granite and monumental. Residents of Porto are known as Tripeiros (tripe
eaters) allegedly due to the fact that the city went without meat in order to
provision the the fleet that left to conquer Ceuta in North Africa in 1415
(which left from Porto) and had to subsist on tripe soup, still a specialty of
Porto, while definitely Portuguese, hold themselves apart culturally from the
rest of the country, as is expressed in the often heard phrase “o Porto é
uma nação” (Porto is a nation). Outsiders often consider Porto to be more
crass and mercantile than the rest of the country, and the inhabitants to be
somewhat lacking in social graces. This is likely due to the fact that the city
has historically been dominated by Portuguese bourgeoisie and English trading
factions rather than the nobility. Tripeiros of course, disagree, regarding
themselves (with some justification) as being the economic heart of the nation.
The city is
officially styled “a muito nobre, sempre leal e invicta cidade do
Porto” (the very noble, always faithful, and invincible city of Porto).
This is usually shortened to “a Cidade Invicta” (the invincible city)
a title won because of Porto’s unparalleled resistance against Napoleonic
troops during the Peninsular war.