top of page
  • Mário Rocha

Boavista: place of entertainment and memory

Real Coliseu of Porto. Source: Monumentos desaparecidos

Back in the day, Boavista was a place of entertainment and memory. At the end of the 19th century, it was the place that held the São Miguel fair, coming from Cordoaria, and Moços fair. Still, it is important to talk about a bullring that was located in front of where today is “Casa da Música” - the Real Coliseu Porto.

It is worth mentioning the considerable efforts made to implement bullfighting culture in the lifestyle and leisure of Porto residents. Bullring squares were built several times, although, this activity was never fully accepted.

Around 1870, an arena was built on Rua da Boavista near the Military Hospital. It lasted 2 years. In 1889, in a new attempt, the Real Coliseu Porto was built. It was considered an important amphitheatre at the time. In addition to having a capacity to receive 8000 people, it had restaurants and cafes. It lasted 6 years having been demolished in 1898.

Through the images, we can see the Real Coliseu Portuense between Boavista square and the cemetery, as well as a typical day of bull racing.

The roundabout in the blueprint of Teles Ferreira, 1892. Source: Porto de Antanho

Bullfight in Porto. Source: Porto Arc

Through the images, we can see the Real Coliseu Portuense between Boavista square and the cemetery, as well as a typical day of bull racing.

Monumento a Guerra Peninsular in Porto: James Enderle

We can easily associate Boavista to an iconic monument in the city.

It is a pedestal erected honoring the national and Porto resistance (and victory) during the French Invasions in the early 19th century. With a broad base, this pedestal features groups of sculptures in which they stage dramatic artillery attacks.

Going back in history, Portugal was the target of a series of invasions (1807 - 1810) by Napoleon's French army in order to control portuguese ports. These military actions were part of an economic asphyxiation strategy to England not allowing english boats to dock in portuguese lands. Portugal did not adhere to the Continental Blockade promoted by the french due to the alliance Portugal had with the English crown and therefore, in 1807, Commander Junot headed to Lisbon.

In this first invasion, the Spanish collaboration should be highlighted due to the presence of Galician soldiers of Taranco. Two years later, Napoleon attempts another attack. Marshal Soult invades the country through the north. There was a wave of destruction, looting and raping from Spain to Porto. Faced with a portuguese resistance still poorly structured, the French easily broke through the city causing the locals to flee to Vila Nova de Gaia via a bridge made of barges and connected by cables. With chaos and panic installed, the crowd forced the passage and ended up falling into the river, drowning a large number of people, not knowing until today the exact number of deaths.

We called the English, our old allies, to rebuild the Portuguese Army - so they did!

We resisted and won!

At the top of the column we can observe the Anglo-Portuguese alliance crushing the mighty French empire. This 45 m monument was designed by the great Porto architect Marques da Silva and the sculptor Alves de Sousa, built by the famous Cooperative of Masons of Porto.

D. Manuel II arrives at the roundabout to commemorate the beginning of its construction.. Source: Porto de Antanho

Mário Rocha | Contentor


bottom of page