cultural territorial networks

environmental heritage

 

1.1 The Douro Valley

 

The Douro is a valley, it is a river, it is a vineyard, it is wine. In answer to the work of the river, Man has, through his labours, transformed these mountains of schistose rock into fertile land and walled terraces, the joint efforts of many cultures, a truly epic feat. Sheltered from the damp Atlantic winds by the Marão and Montemuro mountains, the wine producing region, first demarcated and regulated in 1756 ‐ and the first of its kind world‐wide ‐ is located in Northeast Portugal, between Barqueiros and Mazouco on the Spanish border. It is the land of wine! Although the Demarcated Region spreads to over 250,000 hectares, vineyards cover only 40,000 hectares in the deep valleys and along the hillsides of the Douro River and its tributaries: the Corgo, Torto, Pinhão, Tua and Côa rivers, among others. The region is subdivided into three sub‐regions: the Lower Corgo to the west, the Upper Corgo in the centre, and the Upper Douro to the east. Although the mesoclimate may vary from one sub‐region to another, winter is always cold and summer always hot and dry throughout. These characteristics, together with the nobility of the vine varieties, are the factors that determine the quality and purity of the wines, themselves neither more nor less than the expression of the congenial marriage of the land, the climate, Man’s love and his art. Still the Douro is not just vineyards, wine, almonds, and olive oil... It is its people, the farmers who are responsible for its history and for the stories that are told. It is the Quintas ‐ the estates whose warm welcome and bucolic atmosphere have remained unchanged over the years. Why not discover all of this yourself instead of just reading about it ‐ take a trip along the Port Wine Route, 90 Km from Porto.

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1.2 The Gardens of Palácio de Cristal

 

The Gardens of Palácio de Cristal, Quinta da Macieirinha (where the Romantic Museum and Solar do Vinho do Porto ] Port Wine bar are located) and Quinta Tait form a magnificent park from where you can enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the river Douro and the sea. The romantic gardens of Palacio de Cristal, designed in the nineteenth century by the architect Emile David, have always been a special background for various events. It gets its name from The Crystal Palace which was built here in the 1960's. In 1956, it was substituted by the Rosa Mota Pavilion according to a project by the architect Carlos Loureiro. It currently occupies an area of approximately 8 ha. It has exotic plants and rare large trees, rose gardens, fountains, a pond with many birds and animals and a children's playground. Lime Tree Avenue is the most striking axis of this park and is lined by the Almeida Garrett Municipal Library and Galeria do Palacio (art gallery), Acoustic Shell and Chapel of Carlos Alberto.

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1.3 River and Sea / Outdoors

 

Porto is a riverside city, bathed by the Atlantic, as far north as Matosinhos, and by the Douro River, from Freixo to Foz. The river passes under 6 architecturally fascinating bridges that can be admired while on a Bridges Cruise. Freixo Marina and the Ribeira docks welcome leisure and tourist boats and both up and down the water course there are multiple opportunities to practise water sports such as sailing, rowing, canoeing, diving, surfing and water‐skiing. From next to the São Francisco church, a tram sets off and follows the river on its journey down to the Passeio Alegre Gardens. The same trip can be made by bicycle, using the cycleway that stretches from the Luís I bridge to the City Park, passing on the way the forts of São João Baptista and São Francisco Xavier. The Atlantic welcomes us with its pleasant beaches, some of them flying the Blue Flag, bordered by appetising esplanades and a seafront promenade that is as sought after as the shopping opportunities along the Avenida Brasil. The Praça de Gonçalves Zarco leads to Sea Life Porto, to the City Park, the largest urban park in the country. Here you will find the Sports Town where you can practise dance, play tennis, football, volleyball and hockey, as well as the Transparent Building where regular entertainment activities take place. Whether in mid‐summer or on the coldest winter’s day, a walk along the Porto waterfront is always a renewed pleasure. In addition to all this, you can also enjoy the diversity of botanical species to be found in the Botanical Garden as well as in other gardens around the city, have a little fun in the children’s playgrounds, such as at Parques do Covelo (Covelo Parks), Pasteleira and the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal (Crystal Palace Gardens). Let yourself be enveloped in the green magic which, in many cases, serves as a magnificent panoramic window onto the city and all that surrounds it.

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