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The Porto Baixa

A Baixa do Porto
The Porto Baixa

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The Porto Baixa (Downtown) is laid out around the Avenida dos Aliados (Avenue of the Allies), the city´s focal point. At the top of this thoroughfare, there is the imposing Municipal Council building. At the other end, it opens onto the Praça da Liberdade (Liberty Square) where there is a statue of a mounted Pedro IV (19th c.), emperor of Brazil and, like much of Oporto, a supporter of the Liberalism movement. In a show of recognition, the king literally gave his heart to the city, now watched over in the Church of Lapa.

To the side of the square, take a look at the São Bento (Saint Benedict) railway station to see the pictured tiles in the entrance hall. Then head down the Rua das Flores (Street of Flowers), with its goldsmiths and the exuberant baroque façade of the Church of Misericórdia (Compassion), a masterpiece by architect Nicolau Nasoni.

Surrounding this centre, there is a dense network of streets packed with stores and cafes. Of the latter, the magnificent Majestic and the cheerfully bustling Mercado do Bolhão are well worth a visit. On the streets 31 de Janeiro Galeria de Paris and Cândido dos Reis check out the facades with their Art Nouveau finishings.

Heading up Rua de São Filipe Néry, there is the Church and Tower dos Clérigos (Ecclesiastics), the centrepiece of the city and the most original design by Nicolau Nasoni. From 75 metres up in the tower, there is a wonderful panoramic view over the city of Porto and beyond. On the way, nip into the Lello bookshop and admire the lavish decoration bestowed on this temple to culture.


The Porto Baixa
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