As an important maritime port and commercial town, Porto was one of the cities where Jews settled in Portugal. The history of the Jewish community of the northern region of Portugal is inseparable from the history of the Hebrew presence in Portugal. Begin in the heart of the old city center. In Porto there were at least 3 Jewish quarters: the Old Jewish Quarter, the Castle Jewish Quarter and the Monchique Jewish Quarter. In 1386 King John I gave orders to appoint a larger place to house the city's Jews and the land set aside was an olive tree plantation. Thus the name Judiaria do Olival, the Olive Jewish Quarter was created.
Your guide will bring your attention to the old São Bento Railway Station on your way to the Cathedral, and you will be standing in the Morro da Sé (Cathedral Mount) area, where the first Jewish Quarter of Oporto was located. The Jewish community that lived here used a synagogue located on the Rua da Sinagoga, currently the Rua de Sant'Ana. It was a house of prayer, a house of study, and a house of assembly. It served, so long ago, the same purposes as modern synagogues around the world do today.
Once you reach the city center, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will explore the Church of São Francisco, a simple gothic Franciscan church now known as the 'cave of gold'. Next door is the Stock Exchange Palace, decorated with exquisite granite work and magnificent neo-arab influences. These are part of the itinerary as they are the 'front' for the 'Rua do Comércio' where old records show that the second synagogue was located. It was destroyed by the inquisition but its relationship by distance to commerce in the city is not surprising.
You will really touch Jewish heritage when you visit the Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue, the largest synagogue in the Iberian peninsula and founded in 1938. This is the monument that really represents the most vivid affirmation of Jewish faith today.
Now a quick stop for lunch will be followed by a short ride to the Serralves Foundation and Museum. the Serralves Foundation is considered to be one of Portugal’s most successful and consolidated cultural projects, with unique international projection and recognition. The creation of the Serralves Foundation in 1989, as a private institution of public utility, marked the beginning of an innovative partnership between the State and civil society.
The foundation is installed in a big complex with both permanent and traveling exhibits. The Museum was designed by the famous Portuguese architect Siza Vieira, and it houses temporary exhibitions with some of the best works of modern Art in the World. In Casa de Serralves you can find one of the finest examples of Art Deco of our country, and here you will find temporary exhibitions as well. The complex sits in the Serralves gardens which is a perfect setting in which to stroll. Throughout the gardens you will find sculpture by many masters dotting the landscape.
We will give you about one hour of time to explore this masterpiece of cultural art, which will give you a new outlook on Portugal's involvement in the art community.
Departures: 09:00 AM,
Meeting instructions: Specific pick up or taxi instructions will appear on your voucher after you purchase your trip.
Special instructions: - As much takes place in the old city, a good portion of this tour is walking on uneven surfaces and inclines.
- Food, beverages, and gratuities are not included in the tour.
- Entrance fees for Church of São Francisco, the Palácio da Bolsa, and the Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue and the Serralves Foundation and Museum are not included and must be paid on site.
- Please dress comfortably and wear appropriate shoes.
- To see everything, this is a fast past tour not allowing much time visit in each point.