Travel: City of Oporto

Oporto, is one of the oldest european centers known. It originated many centuries ago as an outpost of the Roman Empire, Today, it is best known for it’s port wine. When wine first emerged in Oporto, there was no method to ensure the quality of wine, as a result the flavor suffered at the hands of the english. The Marquis of Pombal counteracted this by demarcating the region to ensure the wine’s quality and set a standard for production. It was the first attempt within europe to control wine quality and production.

Interesting Fact: Only wines made in Oporto can bear the adage of being named a “Port.”

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On the way to one of the wine caves, we stopped by to visit the Sao Bento Railway Station. It was inaugurated in 1916 and is best known for its azulejo walls that depict moments in portuguese history. They are the work of Jorge Colaço and date from 1905 to 1916. The building itself is French Beaux-Arts architecture, which uses elements such as conservative sculptural decoration, noble spaces, and symmetry. It is still in regular use today.



We then stopped by the Calem Winery to savor some Port in Oporto!

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On our way to the last stop, we paused to enjoy a view of the Casa do Infante, a 14th century house, in which Prince Henry the Navigator was born in 1394.


Casa do Infante

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Palacio da Bolsa








We also passed by the Palacio Da Bolsa, an old stock exchange built-in the 19th century.

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Livraria Lello

Our final destination was to admire the staircase of the Lello & Irmão bookshop. It is speculated that inspiration for the staircases and caped uniforms of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels stemmed from her time living in Oporto, Portugal.  The art-nouveau of the staircase and the bookstore do indeed give me a sense that I stepped into the world of Hogwarts, but it can also be seen as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. However, there is no denying the similarities between the Hogwarts uniforms as depicted in the movies, and the traditional school dress for university students.


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