Rua de Santa Catarina

In 1662 there was an estate in Fradelos with a chapel dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria and linked by a lane to Porta de Cima de Vila da Muralha Fernandina (the district around the upper gate in the King Ferdinand Walls) in the Porto district. In 1748, in a document from the old Portuguese Medieval church charitable institution Misericórdia (Mercy), this lane was already marked as Rua Nova de Santa Caterina, with its corrected outline redrawn in 1771.

Rua Bela da Princesa.

A large part of the plots of land to the north of the street, in particular the part where later on the Grand Hotel do Porto was built in the first half of the XIXth century, were farm estates and horticultural plots belonging to the great Port wine business entrepreneur Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira.

In 1896, Aurélio Paz dos Reis shot what is considered the first ever film in Portuguese cinema, “Factory Workmen leaving the Fábrica Confiança Manufactory” (”Saída do Pessoal Operário da Fábrica Confiança”.)

Today Rua Santa Caterina is lined by clothes shops, butchers, shoe shops, the Via Caterina Shopping Centre and countless high street vendors and traders. With imposing façades they display some fine examples of the Art Nouveau style. With a length of around 1,500 metres, Rua de Santa Caterina is Down-town Porto’s main shopping artery, part of it pedestrianised and closed off to traffic.

Clothes chain Zara’s first store outside Spain opened in this street in 1988.




Rua de Cedofeita

This street owes its name to the Church of São Martinho de Cedofeita (Church of Saint Martin), which, it is believed, was founded in the VIth Century when the area was dominated by the Germanic Vandal tribe known as Suevi. As to the ancient church, it is a fine example of the Romanesque style and got its name from the Latin "cito facta" (built early) due to the speed of its completion.

Set aside from Porto's medieval city limits defined by the Muralha Fernandina (Walls from the time of King Fernando), the area of the present Parish of Cedofeita includes the Church of Saint Martin, the founding of which dates back to the VIth century, which demonstrates the importance of this area many centuries ago.

However, the opening of Rua de Cedofeita only took place in 1762 as part of the vast urban planning project put into place by João de Almada e Melo, through the Junta das Obras Publicos (a Public Works Committee). The aim of the new plan was to link Porto's quayside area with uptown Porto by "levelling the area and creating drainage gutters as well as transversal streets". (1) Among the most important streets at the time was one that was known as "Rua da Estrada", today called "Rua de Cedofeita".

The city developed rapidly. Although it was still not complete by the end of the XVIIIth century, the Black Map published in London in 1813 already shows the street as it is today - extending between Praça de Carlos Alberto and Rua da Boavista - with many buildings on both sides.

The vast majority of the buildings that today make up Rua de Cedofeita date back to the end of the XVIIIth century and the start of the XIXth. They are mainly narrow and long, of a similar architectural style, a large part boasting verandas with balconies, masonry spans and pilasters, granite copings or with stone and ceramic balustrades and façades with glazed tiles dating from the XIXth or XXth centuries.




Rua Cândido dos Reis

This street was originally called Rua da Rainha Dona Amélia in honour of Queen Amélia of Orleans, consort to King Carlos I of Portugal.  With the Republican regime, it was renamed Rua de Cândido dos Reis, after Carlos Cândido dos Reis, also known as Admiral Reis, a Portuguese Republican conspirator who committed suicide on the eve that the Portuguese Republic was proclaimed, believing the Revolution to have failed.  

The area currently housing the Carmelitas neighbourhood was, until the XVIIIth century known as the Campo da Via Sacra (Field of the Sacred Way) or Calvário Velho (Old Calvary).    It was here in 1704 that the Bishop of Porto, Dom Friar José de Santa Maria de Saldanha founded the Convent of Saint Joseph and Saint Teresa of the Barefoot Carmelites (Convento de São José e de Santa Teresa de Carmelitas Descalças).

Opened in 1903, at the same time as the parallel Galeria de Paris (Paris Gallery), the then Rua de Rainha Dona Amélia was lined by elegant buildings with lovely outlines, with the Casa Arte Nova (Art Nouveau House) particularly standing out for its lovliness.  This is a building comprising a ground floor and two main upper floors in a typical example of urban Art Nouveau architecture, dating from the start of the XXth century, one of the rare examples of buildings in this style of architecture in the city.   A large part of the rest of the quarter is occupied by the Palácio do Conde de Vizela - a mansion built between 1917 and 1923 and which bears the hallmark of the architect José Marques da Silva. 

Set within the regeneration of that part of the city, in recent years Rua de Cândido dos Reis, together with the Galeria de Paris and neighbouring streets has become a fashionable Porto night haunt, especially at the weekends.  

An interesting fact about this street which before the Republic was called Rainha Dona Amélia, was that it was renamed Rua Cândido dos Reis, after one of the main leaders of the October 1910 Revolt.  Also known as Almirante Reis (Admiral Reis), many streets formerly bearing names linked to the monarchy were named after him.   He committed suicide on October 4th thinking that the Revolution had failed, but only one day later Portugal declared itself a Republic. 



Rua de Sá da Bandeira

This street was named after Bernardo de Sá Nogueira de Figueiredo, a prominent figure in the Liberal Wars, in particular the Siege of Porto episode.

The street began to be opened up in 1836 via plots of land that belonged to the abandoned Congregated Priests Enclosure - priests who fled Porto, leaving the convent when King Dom Pedro  marched into the city leading the Liberating Army.

The City Council’s intention in laying down this new thoroughfare was to establish a rapid and direct link between the then Praça de Dom Pedro square and Rua do Bonjardim.   The works began in 1836 but it was only seven years later (1843) that they began to build houses and the first that were put up were those which back onto the Viela dos Congregados quarter.

In 1848, on the wedge of the building that makes up the corner of the new main road with the old part of the Bonjardim, in other words, on the corner of the building that would later make way for another where the former Banco Pinto de Magalhães had been, a public fountain was built with two dead-end alleys which were fed into by the Camões well-head.    Around 1875 the Council decided to tear up and pull down the Vielas da Neta (an old street and buildings) to construct the extension for Rua de Sá da Bandeira to the North. 

A year later the Council had expropriated all the properties and land and began to construct the street that would eventually extend along the already existing stretch of the road as far as Rua Formosa.




Rua dos Clérigos

The street that formed a link between the Santo Elói and Olival gateways, on the outside part of Porto’s Muralhas Ferandinas - the King Fernando city walls, a street which for many centuries was called “calçada da Natividade”.   Its original name was taken from the very old chapel of Our Lady of the Nativity (Nossa Senhora da Natividade) which, up to 1836, stood in Praça Nova square (today Praça da Liberdade or Liberty Square).

In 1731 some common land was granted to the religious order of monks called the Irmandade dos Clérigos Pobres (Poor Clerical Brethren) - a brotherhood that had been formed by merging the orders of São Pedro ad Vinicula, São Filipe Neri and Nossa Senhora da Misericórdia - to build a new church there, the Ireja dos Clérigos, a masterpiece by the architect Nicolau Nasoni, whose tower is one of Porto’s greatest landmarks.

The open public square area of the new church then became known as the “Largo dos Clérigos”.  By 1860, when Porto’s Civil Governor, the Viscount de Gouveia was appointed, it was given the current name “Rua dos Clérigos”.

The development of the Carmelitas neighbourhood, the building of the Anjo Market, the Polytechnic Academy and the Santo António Hospital ensured that the rua dos Clérigos became the main access street from the down-town Baixa, located around the present praça da Liberdade.    From the middle of the XIXth century, the Clérigos became one of the most important commercial streets in Porto. 




Rua 31 de Janeiro

For a long time called Rua de Santo António (St Anthony’s Street), the current name is named after the Republican uprising of January 31, 1891, which arose as a consequence of the British Ultimatum of 1890.

Built on the orders of João de Almada e Melo in 1784, the street aimed to establish a convenient link between the Santo Ildefonso neighbourhood (in the upper area of Praça da Batalha (Battle Square) and the Bonjardim neighbourhood (in the down town Baixa area of what is now Praça de Almeida Garret square.  Before this main road was opened, the link between the two was made by today’s Rua da Madeira which, at that time, was known as Calçada da Teresa.

A large part of the street was built on wooden posts and stone arches to overcome the steep incline between the two extreme ends of the street and also to cut a path to the “Mina do Bolhão” which served the Benedictine monks at the Convent of São Bento de Avé-Maria (Convent of St. Benedict of Hail Mary). This was a street that was planned out to the smallest detail with the elevations of its buildings designed by the architect Teodoro de Sousa Maldonado between 1787 and 1793.

The street was finally opened in 1805 under the name Rua Nova de Santo António. It was called Santo António (St. Anthony) because of Santo António dos Congregados; Nova (New) because there had existed another Rua de Santo António, in Picaria.

This street provided the stage for an event that not only marked the history of Porto but also the whole history of Portugal.

On January 31, 1891 it gave rise to the first revolutionary movement, the aim of which was to set up a Republic in Portugal. In memory of this uprising, the street was renamed when the country became a Republic in 1910.  Rua de 31 de Janeiro

Together with Rua dos Clérigos and Praça de Dom Pedro, later Praça da Liberdade, Rua de Santo António/31 de Janeiro - despite its steep incline -- , became one of the city’s most famous streets.  This thoroughfare was noted for its glove sellers, tailors and fashionable hairdressers and barbers.   Where the Casa de Banhos (Bath Houses), Teatro Circo and Teatro Baquet once stood (both theatres), this street was commissioned by the tailor António Pereira Baquet in 1859 but was destroyed by a huge fire 29 years later.   From its ruins rose the Armazéns Hermínios, which, according to the chronicles of the time, were the most elegant and largest shopping malls in Porto.  




Rua da Picaria

Rua da Picaria is, according to tradition, the street which had the greatest concentration of furniture shops in the city. These days high street shopping is more diversified, particularly with the opening of countless bars and eateries.    One of the surviving shops and which continues to stand the test of the time when this street was famous for its furniture, is Moldursant, a picture frame and Fine Art artist materials shop which has been there since 1917. 



Rua Fernandes Tomás

Named after Manuel Fernandes Tomás (1771-1822), a tax attorney for the Municipality of Figueira da Foz, council executive officer, a circuit judge in Arganil (1800), Superintendent of Customs and Tobacco (districts of Coimbra, Aveiro and Leiria - 1805) and Prefect of the District of Coimbra (1808).  He had an important role during the period of the French invasions (Peninsular Wars), when he was appointed the Honorary Justice of the Porto Law Courts (1812).  In 1818 he founded the Sindérico, a clandestine Liberal society that was behind the Liberal Revolution that took place on August 24, 1820.  He was a member of the Provisional Government’s Constituent Courts and Assembly and as a judge helped design the 1822 Constitution.  



Largo de Mompilher

The Largo da Picaria square was renamed Largo de Mompilher in 1942. Its name derives from the Portuguese bastardisation of the name of the famous French University of Montpelier which is so linked to the culture and history of that country during the Medieval and Renaissance periods. Before that it had also been known as the Largo da Conceição (Conception Square).