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, Port. Pôrto, city (1991 pop. 310,600), capital of Porto dist. and Douro Litoral, NW Portugal, near the mouth of the Douro River. It is Portugal's second largest city, after Lisbon, and an important Atlantic port. Its outer harbor is at Leixões.
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, Portugal.



(also Oporto), a city in northern Portugal, off the Atlantic Ocean, near the mouth of the Douro River. The capital of Porto District and Douro Litoral Province, Porto is second only to Lisbon in size and economic importance. Population, 304,700 (1972; with the suburbs of Espinho, Gondomar, Maia, Matozinhos, Valongo, and Vila Nova de Gaia, about 500,000).

Porto is an important seaport and industrial and commercial center. Because the Douro River has sandbars at its mouth, the outer harbor of Leixoes was built along the Atlantic coast to service Porto. (In 1972 the harbor had a freight turnover of 5.7 million tons.) Porto’s principal industries include textiles (primarily cotton), machine building (ship-building and electrical engineering), and winemaking (primarily port wine, chiefly from Vila Nova de Gaia). The city also produces chemicals, glass, paper, cork, leather shoes, and clothing. There are fish canneries and small foundries and nonferrous metallurgical works. An oil refinery, producing 2 million tons of crude oil per year, is located in Matozinhos. Porto’s university was founded in 1911.

A Roman colony was established on the territory of present-day Porto in the first century B.C. Some distance from modern Porto, the Romans founded a settlement called Portus Cale (hence the name “Portugal”), which became the center of the city. At the end of the fifth century A.D., Porto came under the domination of the Suevi kings. It was controlled by the Visigoths from the sixth through the early eighth century and by the Arabs from the eighth to the tenth century. The city repeatedly changed hands during the Reconquista.

In 1095, Porto became the capital of the county of Portucalia. Since the 12th century it has been one of Portugal’s most important ports and a center for the wine industry. Porto was the center of a bourgeois revolution in 1820, the site of a republican uprising in 1891, and the site of an uprising against the military dictatorship in 1927.

Southeast of Porto is the old city, an area of narrow, winding streets lined with granite dwellings, many of which are faced with tiles. Noteworthy landmarks include a cathedral (1113–36, rebuilt in the 17th and 18th centuries) and numerous Gothic, Renaissance, and baroque buildings. Near the old city is the baroque church of dos Clerigos, whose tower (1732–63, architects N. Nazzoni and others) serves as a landmark for sailors. Since the 1920’s a new city has developed to the northwest. The Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis, which houses European, including Portuguese, art, is located in Porto.


Marjay, F. P. Porto e seu distrito. Lisbon, 1955.
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