"PORTO" Top 5 Page for this destination Porto by IneXisTenZ
Porto Travel Guide: 1,058 reviews and 2,800 photos
Porto my home city... most often known abroad as Oporto, is located in the north of Portugal. With 270.000 inhabitants, Oporto is the second largest and most important city in Portugal. It's situated on the right bank of the Douro river, close to the river mouth. The city is built of granite, with a romantic, passionate, old grey perfume. Oporto has a temperate climate, with very high humidity. The history of is founding is lost in the history and life of Portugal. Called Portucale since the V century, and giving the name to the Condado Portucalense, where the name PORTUGAL originates.
The coats of arms have the image of the Virgin Mary, because of this emblazoned image the city has been known as well by the name of " The city of the Virgin ". We can also read " Ancient, Most Noble, Ever loyal, Unvanquished City of Oporto", names granted over the centuries as a result of the heroic deeds of her citizens. It was inside the city walls that the King João I married with the english Princess Filipa de Lencastre ( Lancaster today). The city proudly claims to be the birthplace of Infant D. Henrique and holds sacred the heart of D. Pedro IV in the Lapa Church. He offers is heart to the city in tribute to the contribution from her citizens to Liberalism. Liberalism, love to freedom and Patriotism were and are very high values to the " portuenses ". The ephitet "tripeiros", that the genuine portuenses take so very pride in, came from one of the many devout patriotic demonstrations. To help the Portuguese army embark from the mouth of the Douro river to conquer Ceuta, they slaughthered cattle by witch they used the carcasses to provision the fleet, and kept only the entrails for themselves to eat. The historic affluence is evidenced by the innumerable monuments, mostly religious, Cathedrals, Churchs, Convents, Museums, and the old houses close to the river, called "ribeira". The monumental wealth in the "historic zone" is so high that UNESCO awarded Oporto city in 1996 with the status of "World City Heritage". In May of 1998 Oporto city was chosen to be the European City of Culture in the year of 2001. In the spirit of cultural promotion, a shred rug was made, called "culture rug", registered in the Guiness Book of Records. It was made by 100 thousand people, and measures 24 thousand squares of 1m2 each.
This always rouses a feeling of amazement since this unique and imcomparable city among the coequals. We soon learn to love it, with the peculiarities and inconguties, like a dearest one, wich makes if even more complex and interesting. The initial amazement and confusion experienced by those who visit it for the first time is the unaware, intimidating reflection of the dificult, mystirious, morphological complicated city claims to be the Capital of the North after having grown and absorbed other small communities with strong tradition of their own for the last 800 years, thus giving rise an amalgamation of urban areas and city-dewllers.
The city and its inhabitants reflect this historical course. Here, rivaliries between districts are still alive, shopping centres stand next to traditional shops, large numbers of people from the inland get off buses and mix up with the most cosmopolitan of its inhabitants, everyone being proud of their " nothern accent ".
It was this sense of pride in tradition and the capacity to make the future come true that led the City... my city... to be World City Heritage.
Its long history dating back to the bronze age, Oporto Wine is undoubtedly a cultural heritage and a unique "ambassador" of Portugal all over the world. Oporto Wine is produced according to century old methods in the Demarcated Region of Douro, a region situated Northeast portugal within River Douro hydrological basin, wich is surrounded by mountains that give the particular soil and climateric characteristics. It's a fortified wine, distinct from any other wines due to its wide diversity of types, rich and intense bouquets, and flavours, wide range of swetness and colours and a high alcohol content ( between 19 and 22%C). The vines grow in schistose terraces that wind the slopes forming numerous family farms. In late summer, men, women and children cheerfully gather the mature bunches wich are immediatly carried to the presses where several operations are carried out: the destemming, treadling, fermentation, pumping over, drawing off and "beneficio" or fortification ( the adding of grape brandy whose is rigorously controlled by the Porto Wine Institute). Then the Wine is stored in casks typical of the Douro region, in barrels ( 25.000 to 35.000 litres) or vats (550.000 to 750.000 litres) made of Portuguese oak-wood or chestnut wood. This barrels are carried in the boats made by the same wood " Rabelo lighter" to the cellars located in the left side bank of Douro river ( Vila Nova de Gaia), opossite to Oporto City. Then in this cellars begins the process of ageing, wich can take several tens of years. Among the special categories there is the Vintage, and the Late Bottled Vintage two wines of superior quality, produced in a exceptionally good single year, wich are the first aged in wood for 2-3 years and 4-6 years respectively, and then are obligatorily bottled to go on ageing.
The dated Ports are good quality wines from a single year that age in wood for no less than 7 years.
Port Wines with indication of Age ( 10, 20, 30 and 40 years of age) are quality wines obtained by blending from wines of different years.
The other types of Port Wines are aged under oxidation conditions, wich is less accentuated for the Ruby, and more accentuated for the Tawny.
White Ports can be aged under oxidative conditions or not producing.
Finally, elegant and complex, Porto Wine , wich must be served in stemmed tulip shaped glasses, is adequate to every situation and taste. The Whites, served lightly chiled, are perfect aperitifs, Reds and Tawnys wich must be served chambrés go beautifull with smoked ham, Portuguese cheeses and even with some not very sweet desserts.
A special occasion calls for a special wine, a Vintage or an Old Tawny.
So... while you, comfortably installed, look back on that special day, wich has, somehow, pleasantly marked in your life, savour your Port slowly and, absolute delight, discover the subtile refinement of its colour, its bouquet and its flavour.
Fado is, nowadays, a world wide known symbol of Portugal, being represented for many years in foreign countries by Amália, and more recently by Dulce Pontes, among others. Throughout the world, to the name of Portugal, there were two things immediately related: the bullfighting and the Fado. Although taking many forms as it is sung in Porto, in Coimbra or in Lisbon, the Fado is, by self-earned right, the expression of the Portuguese soul.
Our Country (Portugal) is, since the moment it was born, emerged in a crossroad of cultures. First it was the several people who lived in the area which later would become Portugal, and left their marks. Then it were those who invaded our country after it was born, and still today, many people who live here and contribute to a common culture. That's why it's so hard to point out a precise origin of Fado, but all scholars agree that it goes back many centuries.
The man that sings Fado usually does it in a black suite. He sings his love affairs, his city, the miseries of life, criticises society and the politicians. He often talks about the bullfightings, the horses, the old days and the people already dead, and talks, almost everytime, of saudade (longing). But where did the word Fado came from? It came from the latin fatum, which means fate, the inexorable destiny that nothing can change. That is why Fado is usually so melancolic, so sad: as it sings that part of destiny that was oposite to the wishes of its owner. The woman sings always in black, with a mournful voice, and usually with a shawl on her sholders. She sings the love and death: the death from the loss of love, the love lost to death...
This way of singing shows, in a certain way, the spirit of the portuguese people: the believe in destiny as something that overwelms us and to which we can't escape, the domination of the soul and heart over reason, that leads to acts of pation and dispair, and reveal such a black and beautiful sorrow.
In Portugal traditionaly students wear a black suite and heavy cape, and this is how Fado is sung in Coimbra. It seems a little gloomy, a black multitude hearing a serenade of Coimbra's fado, but in truth it's very beautiful. In the silence of the night - because then serenades are always at night - the guitars and voices echoes, in a moan that extends thru the multitude of black capes, or that deviates thru the corners of the narrow streets and penetrates in the centennial rocks.
Please note that despite Fado being a symbol of the portuguese nationality, it it is not, by no means, the national song. From region to region, Portugal possesses several rich and typical folclores of each geography, that nothing has to do with Fado. Perhaps we can, if you want, to say that this will be the form of folclore of Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra. However, it is appreciated and recognized in all the portuguese country as a symbol.
This is the spirit of fado, the expression of a collective soul, made of each one's soul.
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