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Facts and Curiosities about Porto

Daniel Campos

If you’re studying in Porto and think you know all about the city you’re in, then here are a few facts about Porto that you might not have heard about.

1. Portugal is named after Porto

Facts and Curiosities about Porto: Portus Cale

The Latin name for Porto was Portus Cale. Then, in the Medieval times, the region north of the Douro was named the “Condado Portucalense” (County of Portucale), which then eventually led to the country of Portugal.

2. Port Wine comes from Porto

Facts and Curiosities about Porto: Port Wine

The most famous of Portuguese wines, the Port Wine, is traditionally produced in the Douro Valley and stored and aged in the cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the river from Porto. I suggest you visit the caves in Gaia for some wine-tasting sessions!

3. Porto once hosted the F1 Portuguese GP

Facts and Curiosities about Porto: F1 GP

Between 1958 and 1960, the Formula One Portuguese Grand Prix was hosted on the streets of Porto. After 1960, The Boavista Circuit never hosted another Formula One GP, but was brought back for the WTCC between 2007 and 2013.

4. The city’s nickname is Invicta

Facts and Curiosities about Porto: Invicta Cidade

In Portugal, Invicta stands for unconquered. Why is it Invicta? Porto is called the Invicta because during the 19th century Portuguese civil war, the city withstood a siege of over a year.

5. People from Porto are called Tripeiros

Facts and Curiosities about Porto: Tripeiros

by Flickr user: Porto Convention Visitors Bureau

Legend has it that back in the 15th century, when Henry the Navigator’s fleet needed supplies for its Conquest of Ceuta, the city of Porto provided them with every last bit of meat they had – leaving only the tripes behind. From these leftovers, the people of Porto came up with the now-famous Tripas à Moda do Porto (Tripes Porto Style) dish, thus earning the nickname of Tripeiros.

6. Gustave Eiffel designed one of the bridges over the Douro

Facts and Curiosities about Porto: Eiffel's Bridge

by Flickr user: Ronnie Macdonald

In fact, the Maria Pia Bridge was Gustave Eiffel’s last project before his famous Eiffel Tower. Eiffel was then part of the D. Luis Bridge project until he decided to walk away from it – he didn’t want to share the credit with his apprentice, Théophile Seyrig.

7. Porto’s typical dish is a Francesinha

Facts and Curiosities about Porto: Francesinha

The “Frenchy” is a very special kind of sandwich. Bathed in a tomato-beer sauce, the sandwich has roast beef, ham, linguiça sausage, and is covered in cheese; it’s then accompanied by lots of chips and a beer.

Beware, though, this isn’t a meal for the light-stomached! Most people from outside Porto have trouble eating a whole one! Mind you, I have had two in a row a few times…


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