About Porto

The city

Porto is the second largest city in Portugal with a population of approximately 263,000 (about 1,300,000 in the Greater Porto Area), and is surely one of its most charming cities. The beauty of its historical centre led UNESCO to include it in the World Heritage list in 1996. The city is surrounded by the Douro river in the South and Atlantic ocean in the West. Historic references to the city go back to Roman times in the 4th century, although Celtic and pre-Celtic references were found in the place where Porto now lies. The name of the city (Porto means "port" in Portuguese) comes from the Latin Portus. In the South margin of the river is Gaia, whose name has origin in the Latin Cale. Portus Cale gave rise to the name of Portugal.


Porto is served by Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, which is located some 15km to the north of the city centre. The city has an extensive bus network traversed by the STCP that spreads to the neighbor counties. Metro do Porto is since 2002 part of the public transport system, with five lines running underground in central Porto and above ground into the city's suburbs. One of these lines runs from the airport to the central train station (Campanhã) through the city center. The closest metro station to the Pure and Applied Mathematics Departments is "Casa da Música" (10 minutes walking). Bus 204 has stops at "Casa da Música" station and next to the Departments at "Planetário".


The University of Porto possesses eight University Residences with capacity for some hundreds of students, including some vacancies for graduate students. Additionally, SPRU develops in Portugal a new concept of university residences. Opened in September 2005, the residence of Porto is located around the Metro station of Campanhã. Renting an apartment is always a possibility, tipically cheaper in the neighbor counties of Matosinhos, Maia, Vila Nova de Gaia or Gondomar, that are still well served by the STCP or Metro. The Youth Hostel is a good option for temporary accommodation.


Porto has several museums, concert halls, theaters, cinemas, art galleries, libraries and book shops. The best-known museums of Porto are the Soares dos Reis National Museum, which is dedicated especially to the Portuguese artistic movements from the 16th to the 20th century, and the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art. The city has several concert halls and theatres, some of them of a rare beauty and elegance such as the S. João and Rivoli theatres, the Coliseu do Porto, and the recent Casa da Música.



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