Palácio da Bolsa

Porto, Portugal

The Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa) palace was built in the 19th century by the city's Commercial Association in Neoclassical style. The Palácio da Bolsa is located beside the St Francis Church of Porto, which was once part of the St Francis Convent, founded in the 13th century. In 1832, during the Liberal Wars, a fire destroyed the cloisters of the convent, sparing the church. In 1841, Queen Mary IIdonated the convent ruins to the merchants of the city, who decided to use the spot to build the seat of the Commercial Association.

Building work began in 1842 following the plans of Porto architect Joaquim da Costa Lima Júnior, who designed a Neoclassical palace of Palladian influence, inspired by previous structures built in the city. Most of the palace was finished by 1850, but the decoration of the interior was only completed in 1910 and involved several different artists.

Art and architecture

The first architect of the Palácio was Joaquim da Costa Lima Júnior, who was in charge of the project from 1840 until 1860. He was responsible for the general design of the building, inspired by the Neopalladian architecture that was in fashion in Porto since the late 18th century, expressed in buildings like the Hospital of St Anthony (by English architect John Carr), the English Factory (by another Englishman, John Whitehead) and several projects by Portuguese architect Carlos Amarante.

The general structure of the Palácio was completed by 1850, but several architectural details were later entrusted to architects Gustavo Adolfo Gonçalves e Sousa (author of the stairway and the Arab Room), Tomás Augusto Soler (metallic dome of the courtyard) and Joel da Silva Pereira (Tribunal Room), among others.

The interior of the Palace, only finished in 1910, was magnificently decorated by several artists. The central courtyard (Nations' Courtyard - Pátio das Nações) is covered by a large metallic, octagonal dome with glass panels, designed by Tomás Soler and built after 1880. The lower part of the dome is decorated with the painted coats-of-arms of Portugal and the countries with which Portugal had commercial relations in the 19th century. To the back of the courtyard, a sumptuous stairway, built in 1868 by Gonçalves e Sousa, leads to the upper storeys and is adorned with busts by celebrated sculptors António Soares dos Reis and António Teixeira Lopes. The ceiling frescoes were painted by António Ramalho.

Several rooms of the Palace - Tribunal Room, Assembly Room, Golden Room - display furniture by José Marques da Silva, allegoric paintings by José Maria Veloso Salgado and João Marques de Oliveira, sculptures by Teixeira Lopes and many other works of art. The highlight of the Palace is, however, the Arab Room, built between 1862 and 1880 by Gonçalves e Sousa. The room is decorated in the exotic Moorish Revival style, fashionable in the 19th century, and is used as reception hall for personalities and heads of state visiting Porto.

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Details

Founded: 1842
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Portugal

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Laurent H (6 months ago)
Great visit! The guided your is mandatory. There is one every 30 minutes and the languages rotate from English, Spanish portuguese and French. We had to wait an hour or so before being able to get in. I would recommend buying ticket in advance if possible. But other than that the tour was amazing. Reasonably sized, no crammed and interesting explanation of many of the rooms.
Hosam Ebrahim (6 months ago)
Incredible architecture of the historic chamber of commerce. A guided tour is mandatory and as of August 2023 no tickets can be purchased online. So you'll need to book tickets via the counter in advance. The cherry on top is the special room gifted by queen Maria the second to the chamber in the 19th century. Incredible arabic architecture.
David Bermingham (6 months ago)
A really great experience. Our guide was lovely, very knowledgeable. Definitely worth a visit. We tried to visit two days ago and it was sold out with long queues. Yesterday, it was closed for a private event. Today, I bought tickets early morning for our preferred time. The tour only lasts 30 mins, our group was small. Small gift shop at end of tour.
Sofiia Romanovska (7 months ago)
Amazing place with lots of history and fun with guides. Arabic room is stunning. Make sure to visit it while in Porto. The only downside is that tickets are sold only there and you would need to queue for quite a long time during pick hours. Take umbrella and lots of cold water to avoid overheating.
Rafaella Gomes (9 months ago)
Amazing place. The staff was so friendly and helpful. When in Portugal, you must visit this place! Amazing! Beautiful! You can buy the tickets in site, or online. The tour guide can be in Portuguese, English and French.
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