The city of elegant bridges and mazelike streets, fouled on the map as if a headphones carelessly flung into a pocket. A place that gave name to the whole country and an alcohol drink that used to pack a punch for rugged sailors. The capital’s main rival and the pride of the North in its opposition to the South. We’re talking about Porto – Portugal’s second business and industrial centre after Lisbon and all-in-all one of key South European metropolises.
In order to follow the history of the hero of our story, it takes digging back into 'bearded’ times of Roman Empire. We reach such distant layers to discover a small settlement of Portucale situated in the mouth of river Douro. In fact, lazy Romans mated to towns that occupied both sides of the water artery. On the North bank citizens of Portus found lodgement with inhabitants of Cale that we know today under the name of Vila Nova de Gaia on the opposite one.
Later Latins, who erected a large dock here, got shifted by Moors, who did their best for former masters to be forgotten as soon as possible. So, when Europeans got to Porto, they didn’t find constructions from imperial times. They had to sway the city’s history from square one. The whole country borrowed the ancient name of Portucale to become Portugal. And the strong drink produced nearby in the valley of Douro, gained notoriety under the name “port wine”. Without a second thought Englishmen combined in one term – ‘dock’ – both wine and the city from harbors of which the drink was being sent to them.
First thing to strike one’s eye is Porto’s peculiar building development. Streets here are tied into a snaky knot occasionally intersecting at incredible angles. And houses are shoved so close to one another, they resemble subway passengers at rush hours. Speaking of subway, there is one here, and it has illuminated tunnels. Truth be told, the tracks mostly lies above ground so the trains should be more appropriately called express trams.
Porto’s historic centre is listed among UNESCO World Culture Heritage objects. And since the property is common, tourists settled in the old part of the city, having a watchful look around numerous places of interest. Main symbol of Porto is Clérigos Tower 75 meters high – the highest in the country. It can easily serve as a reference point since the offspring of Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni can be seen from every spot of the city. Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto) can serve as another beacon therefore only an utterly topographically challenged person can get completely lost here provided that he sets himself such an honorable globetrotter’s aim.
Walking around the city’s historic centre, you’re sure to be carried away by the sight of Cadofeita and St. Francis Churches with their towers “photographically worn thin” as well as by tremendous Episcopal Palace. Now that we mentioned it, kings from all over Europe used to come to it to get married, they just about queued here! One can also have a look at Stock Exchange Palace where a tour to Arabic Hall full of the shine of gold enjoys great popularity. Main condition is not to touch anything and not to partition anything for souvenirs…
Porto never palls. Even in the eyes of a tourist schooled by experience of antiquity it still represents an admirable sight. Hilly terrain allows finding various sightseeing platforms that busy quays and an endless surface of the Atlantic Ocean can be seen from. It is also the city of bridges; there are 6 of them here: from Ponte D. Maria Pia designed by Eiffel in 19th century to modern metal Ponte D. Luis.
It is remarkable that in the time of erection the length of the latter construction’s arch span was the largest in the world – 172 meters.
However, whether you’re overlooking Porto or closely perusing its every street winding as a “Teutonic pretzel”, hunger pierces stone walls and even amazing views cannot satisfy it. In order to recharge you power we suggest you drop by the iconic café Majestic. According to the biography of Joanne Rowling, author of Harry Potter adventures, she spent quite some time in the place when she was working on the first book about the young wizard. So who knows, maybe splendid coffee collection at Majestic together with aristocratic interior of 1920s, will prompt you to your own writing about magic and miracles attempt. If so – don’t be greedy, share with us. Editorial staff of Outlook as well as our readers will be happy to read your “op-porto-nist” notes!
Photo by: Josep Renalias, Bernt Rostad, open sources
Once upon the time, Pygmy peoples lived on the west coast of Africa. They did not have any conflicts with anyone. When they were hungry, they went hunting, picked up nuts and bananas. Then the Mpongwé and the Fang tribes came. After them, the Portuguese arrived and named these lands Gabon. They were followed by the French who acquired the land and declared it as their colony. Only in the middle of the past century, when Pygmies were very few, Gabon gained independence from foreigners…
Formidable waves rise up like soldiers on guard, then beat against the rocky coastline, lay down their arms and meekly retreating, crumble into a foam. Wind freely runs over lavender fields and eucalyptus groves hiding sleepy koalas in bushland. Twilight is ready to cover every living creature with a dark bucket, and the bustling nocturnal life spreads its wings. This is not a fictional world of fairy tales but everyday life of Kangaroo Island, a booming destination for wilderness and wildlife fans.
We write a lot about travelling and offbeat tourism, tell our readers about the most exotic destinations and how to put 10 dollars to good use in the cities around the world. However, we rarely think that mass tourism has the other side. Today we decided to look at the crowds of tourists through the eyes of local residents and to tell our readers about issues that face the world most visited cities.
Beaches, forests, deserts are not enough to say that you have already visited many parts of the earth. Definitely, you wanna something extraordinarily special? Why not! Humanity has flown into space a long time ago! Frankly speaking, the journey to Mars will seem too expensive even for a millionaire. After all, a trip outside the Earth costs the budget of a personal island. It does not matter: on our beloved planet there are absolutely stunning and truly cosmic landscapes!
The rich and famous first started talking about Saint-Tropez when at the end of the 19th century Guy de Maupassant paid a visit there. French author, famous for his non-judgmental realism, wrote about the warm beauty of Saint-Tropez, mentioning ‘sardine scales glistening like pearls on the cobblestones’...
Located on low hills, this country hides in tropical rainforest in the very center of Latin America. There are no beaches and modern concert halls yet it amazes with its access to wild nature. Some come to Paraguay to explore territory of the Indies, others – to get excited with ancient colonial erections, some – for shopping.
Tibet… what are you mulling over while articulating this name, drawing it in your mind mentioning the concept involved in the mild space of clouds?Tibet… There are mountains that seem to be speaking with the heaven. Here everything is penetrated with the religion and different beliefs such as culture, art, folk traditions and customs.
The Senegalese capital of Dakar is not only the most important city of West Africa, but also a city of extremes, a fascinating introduction if purpose of the trip is to "get acquainted with the Black Continent, but gently and smoothly". In addition to many civilizational and habitual to modern people attributes of life, every moment you feel spirit of Africa, at once both intimidating, romantic, off-beat and deeply alluring.
American Detroit was until recently known as the automotive capital. But nowadays it is more often than not mentioned in the context of decline and population outflow. Outlook decided to figure out why ghost cities emerge.
Incheon is considered to be sea and air gateway to South Korea since it has one of the country's largest seaports and the most spacious, world-class airport in the region. The city is growing rapidly: within just a hundred years it developed from a modest port settlement to an ultramodern industrial and tourist hub.
Among tourists, especially those from Europe, it is difficult to find people who have not enjoyed vacation in sunny and hospitable Turkey at least once, so the prices at holiday destinations are more or less known. However, what awaits those who opted for "another Turkey" and went to see the magnificent Istanbul, we would like toexplainwith the example of 10 dollars.
A function of UNESCO World Heritage Committee is to work in the most careful manner year after year on studying objects that constitute outstanding culture civilizations and are unique in their origins. Under number 569 of an impressive list of the organization city of Gjirokastër, the one from the south of Albania, is located – it is it we are going to study today through the length and breadth.
They become the place for the coolest parties, source of extraordinary ideas and unpredictable discoveries. Nowadays whole houses, temples, gardens, pools and stadiums reach peaks of their popularity – all of them on tops of buildings.
Should we have a look at notes of those who plan their trips to Spain, next to the darling of all hearts, Barcelona, Montserrat is bound to rank second. Also, the mountain of the abbey is a must-visit spot for local dwellers, too – they believe it necessary to visit Catalonia’s religious heart at least once a year.
Today in our review dedicated to the most interesting streets of the planet we are going to talk about Brivibas. The old city of Riga is truly magnificent and finely preserved part of Latvian capital. Verily here there are more tourists and less local citizens, however, 350-400 years ago around it there was nothing and city resembled inaccessible medieval fortress in semi-Scandinavian and semi-European style. All of its population could place here…
Judging by the reviews of the majority of tourists who visited Istanbul, many of them did not reach Asian part of the main Turkish metropolis, or did not have a proper walk there. The best case, they just saw SabihaGökçen International Airport and ferry docks, a destination of leisure cruses from Europe, where on the way one can feed with bread seagulls swooping overhead. For you to have morecomprehensive and diverse picture of this incredible city, we would like to tell our readers about the unique corners of its Asian part, as it is a crime to miss them.
Only an abandoned artificial archipelago with traces of extinct civilizations can better than a deserted island! Cadent splash of oars that plows blue dreams of the Pacific Ocean quells drumroll of ecstasy in your temples while preparing will and mind to the meeting with the greatest mystery of Micronesia. Nan Madol lies empty for more than one hundred years; mighty walls are gnawed away by sea salt but even in thrall of oblivion the forbidden city doesn’t lose its greatness.
Ancient Greece began with Mycenae and Crete, and the country's new history starts its record with Kalamata. It was the city where Turkish shackles were dumped for the first time, thus making way for independence. Kalamata is a place with its own temper. Within less than 200 years, it was rebuilt twice, and both times revival followed.
...The virtuoso chisel inhaled the heat of a living soul in a cold stone block and created a khachkar - an inspired narrative about the spiritual search and longing for a lost paradise, unhurriedly unfolding tenacious rings of ancient mysteries in the curls of mystical ornaments.
Even being adults, sometimes we are able to bring to life the children’s fantasies, see the stories from childish dreams, and embody what has seemed to be the fairytale. Have you ever dreamt of being in the whale’s chaps? Just imagine that you were swollen by the giant fish, and you were living there for a long time, looked at it inside, settled down there, swam and dived there?