In 1387, Porto was the site of the marriage of John I of Portugal and Philippa of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt; this symbolized a long-standing military alliance between Portugal and England. The Portuguese-English alliance,(see the Treaty of Windsor (1386)) is the world's oldest recorded military alliance.
In the 14th and the 15th centuries, Porto's shipyards contributed to the development of Portuguese shipbuilding. It was also from the port of Porto that, in 1415, Prince Henry the Navigator (son of John I of Portugal) embarked on the conquest of the Moorish port of Ceuta, in northern Morocco. This expedition by the King and his fleet, which counted amongst others Prince Henry, was followed by navigation and exploration along the western coast of Africa, initiating the Portuguese Age of Discovery. The nickname given to the people of Porto began in those days; Portuenses are to this day, colloquially, referred to as tripeiros (English: tripe peoples), referring to this period of history, when higher-quality cuts of meat were shipped from Porto with their sailors, while off-cuts and by-products, such as tripe, were left behind for the citizens of Porto: tripe remains a culturally important dish in modern day Porto.
Known as the city of bridges, Porto built its first permanent bridge, the Ponte das Barcas (a pontoon bridge), in 1806. Three years later it was sabotaged. It was replaced by the Ponte D. Maria II, popularised under the name Ponte Pênsil (suspended bridge) and built between 1841–43; only its supporting pylons have remained.
Unrest by Republicans led to a revolt in Porto on 31 January 1891. This would result ultimately in the creation of the Portuguese Republic in 1910.
Porto is home to a number of dishes from traditional Portuguese cuisine. A typical dish from this city is Tripas à Moda do Porto (Tripe Porto style), which still can be found everywhere in the city today. Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá (Gomes de Sá Bacalhau) is another typical codfish dish born in Porto and popular in Portugal.
The Francesinha - literally Frenchy, or more accurately little French (female) - is the most famous popular native snack food in Porto. It is a kind of sandwich with several meats covered with cheese and a special sauce made with beer and other ingredients.
Port wine, an internationally renowned wine, is widely accepted as the city's dessert wine, especially being that the wine is made along the Douro River which runs through the city.
There are also some big, cool clubs and live music venues, while an alternative and artistic crowd gathers at "Maus Habitos".
- The Porto Cathedral, located in the historical centre, is one of the city's oldest monuments and one of the most important Romanesque monuments in Portugal. The current Cathedral of Porto underwent construction around 1110 under the patronage of Bishop Hugo and was completed in the 13th century, but there is evidence that the city has been a bishopric seat since the Suevi domination in the 5th-6th centuries. The cathedral is flanked by two square towers, each supported with two buttresses and crowned with a cupola. The façade lacks decoration and is rather architecturally heterogeneous. It shows a Baroque porch and a beautiful Romanesque rose window under a crenellated arch, giving the impression of a fortified church. The Romanesque nave is rather narrow and is covered by barrel vaulting. It is flanked by two aisles with a lower vault. The stone roof of the central aisle is supported by flying buttresses, making the building one of the first in Portugal to use this architectonic feature. This first Romanesque building has suffered many alterations but the general aspect of the façade has remained romanesque.
- The Clérigos Church is a Baroque church in the city of Porto. Its tall bell tower, the Torre dos Clérigos, can be seen from various points of the city and is one of its most characteristic symbols. The church was built for the Brotherhood of the Clérigos (Clergy) by Nicolau Nasoni, an Italian architect and painter who left an extense work in the north of Portugal during the 18th century. Construction of the church began in 1732 and was finished around 1750, while the monumental divided stairway in front of the church was completed in the 1750s. The main façade of the church is heavily decorated with baroque motifs (such as garlands and shells) and an indented broken pediment. This was based on an early 17th century Roman scheme. The central frieze above the windows present symbols of worship and an incense boat. The lateral façades reveal the almost elliptic floorplan of the church nave. The monumental tower of the church, located at the back of the building, was only built between 1754 and 1763. The baroque decoration here also shows influence from the Roman Baroque, while the whole design was inspired by Tuscan campaniles. The tower is 75.6 metres high, dominating the city. There are 225 steps to be climbed to reach the top of its six floors. This great structure has become the symbol of the city.
- The Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace) The palace was built in the 19th century by the city's Commercial Association (Associação Comercial) in Neoclassical style. It is located in the Infante D. Henrique Square in the historical centre of Porto, designated World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Palácio da Bolsa is located beside the St Francis Church of Porto, which was once part of the St Francis Convent, founded in the 13th century. In 1832, during the Liberal Wars, a fire destroyed the cloisters of the convent, sparing the church. In 1841, Queen Mary II donated the convent ruins to the merchants of the city, who decided to use the spot to build the seat of the Commercial Association. Building work began in 1842 following the plans of Porto architect Joaquim da Costa Lima Júnior, who designed a Neoclassical palace of Palladian influence, inspired by previous structures built in the city. Most of the palace was finished by 1850, but the decoration of the interior was only completed in 1910 and involved several different artists.
- The Episcopal Palace of Porto is the former residence of the bishops of Porto. The palace is located on a high elevation, near Porto Cathedral, and dominates the skyline of the city. It is part of the historical centre of Porto, designated World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The palace is an important example of late baroque and rococo civil architecture in the city. The original Episcopal Palace of Porto was built in the 12th or 13th century, as attested by some architectural vestiges like romanesque-style windows that exist inside the present building. In 1387, this mediaeval palace witnessed the marriage of John I of Portugal and Philippa of Lancaster. During the 16th and 17th centuries the palace was greatly enlarged, and an old drawing shows it to be composed of a series of buildings with towers, as was typical for the architecture of Portuguese manor houses of the period. The present palace, however, is the result of a radical rebuilding campaign carried out in the 18th century, which turned it into a baroque work.
- Liberdade Square It is located in Santo Ildefonso parish, in the lower town (Baixa) area. The square is continuous on its north side with the Avenida dos Aliados, an important avenue of the city. The square has its origins in the beginning of the 18th century. It was in 1718 that a project for the urbanisation of the area begun, which resulted in the creation of new streets and an ample square, known as Praça Nova (New Square). The square was initially limited by the medieval walls of the city and by urban palaces, all of which are now lost. After 1788, the Order of the Lóios (a Portuguese religious order) built a convent on the south side of the square that replaced the medieval wall; the imposing Neoclassical façade of the convent, nowadays known as the Cardosas Palace (Palácio das Cardosas) is the oldest extant building of the square, dominating the south side of the square for over 200 years.
The Palácio da Bolsa