Oporto (Porto), Portugal

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Portugal’s second city, Oporto (Porto) is on the northern bank of the Douro River 3 km from the Atlantic Ocean. In the north of the country, the hilly city rises up the Pena Ventosa from the steep rocky banks of the Douro. A port and industrial centre, Oporto was the capital of Portucale in medieval times.


The Phoenicians were attracted to Oporto as a stage on the ancient trade routes. The fifth century BC settlement of Cale on the south bank was conquered by the Romans in 300 BC. Castrum Novum was founded on the north bank of the Douro by the Alani tribe and taken by Visigoths in the sixth century AD. The Moors extended their empire to the area in 716, destroying the city in the process, but were driven out by the nobles of the northern region of Portucalense in 997. Oporto was made the capital of Portucale and remained so despite a Moorish attack in the eleventh century.

In June 1147 an English fleet en route for the Second Crusade stopped at Oporto and joined...

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