Did you know that the name Portugal came from Porto?

The origins of the urban centre date back to the Late Bronze Age, 8th century BC approximately. From the beginning, the pre-historic settlement had important commercial links with the Mediterranean Basin. During the Roman occupation, the city was already provided with impressive buildings and controlled an important road network between Lisbon and Braga.

The city was formerly called Cale and later Portucale, from which the name Portugal was derived.

Grande Porto or Greater Porto is a Portuguese region, integrated in the region of North of Portugal. It corresponds to 9 out of 14 municipalities (concelhos) that constitute the larger Greater Metropolitan Area of Porto, centered in the city of Porto. With a population of 1,572,176 habitants (INE 2004) and an area of 817 km². Highly industrialized, is, with the neighbouring subregions, the main source of the Portuguese exports and home to one of the busiest Portuguese harbours, located in Leixões. Serves as the commercial, educational, political and economical center of northern Portugal.

It is formed by 9 municipalities, on both sides of the river Douro: Espinho, Gondomar, Maia, Matosinhos, Porto, Póvoa de Varzim, Valongo, Vila do Conde, Vila Nova de Gaia.

The urban area, which includes the cities of Porto (pop. 240,000), Vila Nova de Gaia (pop. 330,000) and Matosinhos (pop. 175,000), are amongst the biggest urban centers in Portugal, although the subregion is considered a Metropolitan Area with a population of over a million.

World Heritage by UNESCO

Do you know that porto has 95 classified points of World Heritage by UNESCO?

Overlooking the Douro River, Porto is one of the most ancient European cities, It was born and developed from the northern bank of this river during the Middle Ages. One of the most significant aspects of Porto and its historical centre is its landscape, combining harmony with the urban structure and presenting a frame of rare beauty. UNESCO classified the city as World Heritage in 1996.
When discovering Porto, you will find many surprises. Besides its welcoming and conservative environment, Porto is also contemporary and artistic. This is shown not only in the streets, architecture, monuments and museums but also in the terraces, restaurants and leisure and shopping areas.
Considering the unique features of Porto’s historical centre it was classified by the UNESCO as “World Cultural Heritage” in December 1996. Here you will find the inscription stages, the classified and protected areas and the list of the artistic and world heritage.

Aware of the importance of these initiatives for the city and the advantages of international support for the consolidation of this process, the Porto City Hall put forward a formal candidature to UNESCO for the classification of the Porto Historic Centre as World Heritage.
The process began in 1993 and was given a decisive impulse in 1996, when UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee gave its approval.
The candidature was organised by CRUARB (Municipal Project for the Urban Renovation of the Porto Historic Centre), together with several specialised City Hall departments.
UNESCO’s decision was greatly influenced by the quality of the urban and social renovation works, especially those supporting the local population and boosting cultural and sport activities, which have been successfully introduced throughout the area now classified as World Heritage.

Classified and protected area

The classified area comprises the medieval borough located inside the 14th-century Romanesque wall. It includes the oldest buildings in the city, as well as typical streets and attractive public areas.
Since the development of Porto was closely connected with the left margin of River Douro, the proposal included the highly significant Luís I Bridge, built by Théophile Seyrig, a disciple of Gustav Eiffel, and the prominent building of the Augustinian Convent of Serra do Pilar.
The protection area corresponds to the former outskirts of the medieval city on both sides of the river. In Vila Nova de Gaia, this area includes the amphitheatre-shaped slope where the Port wine cellars are located. On the north margin, it comprises the ancient borough of Miragaia, the northern belt whose renovation was begun in the 18th century, the ancient area of Santo Ildefonso, the slopes of Guindais and the terraces of Fontaínhas that descend towards the River Douro.


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