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Historic Center of Porto – Palácio da Bolsa

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The 180 years of existence have its origin in the night of the 24th of July of 1832, during the siege of Porto, during which a gigantic fire broke out in the convent of S. Francisco, destroying it almost completely, as only the church, which still exists today, remained. It was upon these ruins of the ancient convent, later donated by D. Maria II, by ministerial dispatch from the 19th of June of 1842, that the traders built the Palácio da Bolsa in order to establish in it the Stock Exchange and the Court of First Instance. Curiously, in order to prevent eventual financial problems due to the excessive financial burden of the construction itself, the Queen ordered that the Porto Commercial Association would have at its disposal an extraordinary revenue for a period of ten years, overall products circulating the Porto customs.

With a mixture of architectonical styles, the building presents in all its splendour traces of the eighteenth-century neoclassical style, Tuscany architecture, as well as, English Neo-Palladian style.

Many men have participated in the construction of the Palácio da Bolsa. From Joaquim da Costa Lima Júnior, who assumed duties in 1840 (he submitted the plan, budget and details of the project Palácio da Bolsa) to Gustavo Adolfo Gonçalves de Sousa, Tomás Augusto Soller, José Macedo Araújo Júnior, Joel da Silva Pereira and, finally, José Marques da Silva, the last architect and decorator of the Palace.

The building was built throughout almost 70 years, had six main architects, dozens of engravers, plasterers, painters, gilders, mason bricklayer and hundreds of blue-collar workers, who always gave their best. With the implementation of the Republic, on the 5th of October of 1910, the Palácio da Bolsa is inventoried and vacated and the possession of building is written on the 11th of February of 1911. The painting of a monarch, the one of D. Carlos I, was vandalized with two gunshots.

However, contrary to what happened in other cases, this building does not enter in decay or stagnation, and during the presidency of Sidónio Pais, it comes back to its legitimate owners.

Authentic real life classroom, the Palácio da Bolsa, apart from being a unique and exclusive location, attracts annually more than three hundred thousand visitants, being therefore one of the most visited monuments in the North of Portugal.

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