“View on the River Douro, Oporto” was featured in Iberia (13 November 2009)
Canon PowerShot SX1 IS, 1/800 s, f/4, ISO 80
Bridges and port wine are what characterises Oporto, Portugal’s gracious northern capital and second largest city after Lisbon. Oporto sits astride a great gorge at the point where the River Douro enters the Atlantic, and although it is mainly industrial, the city centre has plenty of charm with some art treasures, medieval cathedrals and museums, along narrow streets sporting wrought-iron balconies and bright splashes of potted geraniums.
The main reason tourists visit Oporto is to sample its legendary port wine, processed, blended and aged in the various lodges of the Vila Nova da Gaia district across the river from the city, via the spectacular two-tiered Dom Luis bridge. The city also has an historic riverside district called Ribeira, which is undergoing restoration and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage
The bridge seen from afar is Ponte Dom Luís, erected in 1861-66 by the Société Belge de Willebroeck to plans by Théophile Seyrig, a former assistant to Eiffel. This is a double-decker road/Metro bridge connecting Oporto with Vila Nova de Gaia. Its span is 558ft and it is 223ft high with a 26ft wide roadway which for many years carried single-file, two-way traffic on both levels. Pedestrians could freely cross both the upper and lower levels on narrow pavements. Until the 1990s the top deck also carried trolley buses. After extensive works and installation of catenary, the upper deck started to carry the new Oporto Metro services across the Douro to Gaia in 2005, whilst the lower level remains a road traffic bridge. The Lusa Pages