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.
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.References:
The Petersberg Citadel is one of the largest extant early-modern citadels in Europe and covers the whole north-western part of the Erfurt city centre. It was built after 1665 on Petersberg hill and was in military use until 1963. It dates from a time when Erfurt was ruled by the Electors of Mainz and is a unique example of the European style of fortress construction. Beneath the citadel is an underground maze of passageways that can be visited on guided tours organised by Erfurt Tourist Office.
The citadel was originally built on the site of a medieval Benedictine Monastery and the earliest parts of the complex date from the 12th century. Erfurt has also been ruled by Sweden, Prussia, Napoleon, the German Empire, the Nazis, and post-World War II Soviet occupying forces, and it was part of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). All of these regimes used Petersberg Citadel and had an influence on its development. The baroque fortress was in military use until 1963. Since German reunification in 1990, the citadel has undergone significant restoration and it is now open to the public as a historic site.