Porto, a coastal city in northwest Portugal, is also known as Oporto in English. However, here we’re going to always refer to the second largest city in Portugal as Porto.
Porto is one of the major urban areas of the Iberian Peninsula, and is known for its stately bridges and port wine production. In the medieval Ribeira district, narrow cobbled streets wind past merchants’ houses and cafes. São Francisco Church is known for its lavish baroque interior with ornate gilded carvings. The palatial, 19th century Palácio de Bolsa, formerly a stock market, was built to impress potential European investors.
The urban area of Porto extends beyond the city’s administrative limits, and has a population of around 2.1 million. Having an area of 389 km2 makes Porto the second-largest urban area in Portugal.
Located along the Douro river estuary in Northern Portugal, Porto is one of the oldest European centres and in 1996 its historical core was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The western part of the urban area extends to the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. Its settlement dates back many centuries, when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire.
Its combined Celtic-Latin name, Portus Cale, has been referred to as the origin of the name “Portugal”. In Portuguese, the name of the city is spelled with a definite article “o Porto”, English translation: the port. As a result of a misinterpretation of the oral pronunciation, Porto is often referred to as Oporto in modern literature, and by many English speakers.
One of Portugal’s internationally famous exports is port wine, named for Porto. It was the metropolitan area, particularly the caves of Vila Nova de Gaia, that were responsible for the packaging, transport and export of the fortified wine.
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