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2016年9月29日 星期四

The Douro Cruise & Igreja de São Francisco (斗羅河遊與聖方濟各堂 )

After visiting the Sandeman Museum of port, we were driven to an embarkation point on one of the banks of the Douro River for a river cruise.


This is where we got on to the boat.



The old Gaia district of Porto


We're moving further out into the estuary of the Douro River, the Dom Luis I Bridge (nearer) , followed by Arrabida Bridge further away


The Arrabida Bridge, opened in 1963


Further out into the estuary


The 371m Ponte Infante D. Henrique, opened in 2003



Some of the buildings we passed by


This is  the famous 16th Century Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, with a circular-shaped convent  modeled on the church of Santa Maria Redonda of Rome belonging to the Order of St. Augustine and is covered by a hemispheric vault with a narowrrow balcony running its full length. Owing to lack of funds and political turmoil, it took 72 year to complete. During the period, Portugal fell under the control of Spain. This explains its name, a Spanish saint, our Lady of Pilar. Owing to its strategic position, it was requisitioned for military use during the Seige of Oporto between July 1832 and August 1933 in which the troops of Dom Pedro ( representing the Liberals) was beseiged by Dom Miguel I of Portugal. The monastery was also used as a military barrack in early 20th century by Serra do Pilar Artillery Regiment. The church there boasted some impressive carved gold leaf altars with Solomonic columns. There are also 18th century century polychrome wooden carvings of the saints Eulalia, Apollonia and Augustine.


a baby on the river cruiser
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 Our boat passing under the Infante D Henrique Bridge


Directly under the Maria Pia Bridge now
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Passing under the wrought iron Maria Pia bridge (Ponte Maria Pia), commonly known as Ponte Dona Maria, a railway bridge built in 1877. At that time, it was the longest single-arch span in the world. It's is no longer in use as a rail bridge because a modern replacement has been in 1991.


The 270 meter long 6 lane Arrabida Bridge, opened in 1963 as the concrete bridge with the longest arch in the world.


The Arrabida Bridge from further on. Beyond it is the estuary of Douro River


The Maria Pia bridge from under the Arrabida Bridge, behind that is the Ponte de São João


The Teleferico de Gaia



The old town of Gaia, closest to the bank is the Praça da Ribeira (Riverbank Plaza)


Another part of the town


Closer to the old town


An old church


All kinds of flags on our cruiser


The newer part of town

cruising back now



Back to the Dom Luis I Bridge


Back to the pier

Buildings are built very close to the edge of the water


a café ashore the Praça da Ribeira


Looking up towards the old town


This is the Palácio de Bolsa (Stock Exchange Building)

After getting ashore, we were taken to visit the Saint Francis Church



The exterior of the Igreja de São Francisco (Church of Saint Francis) , the most prominent Gothic monument in Porto built 1383-1425 by the Franciscan Order which first arrived at Porto in 1244, also noted for its Baroque inner decoration, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Underneath the church is a catacomb containing the bones of many Franciscan monks.


A statue of outside the church

Another statue outside the church


The Baroque front of the church with a Gothic style rose window. In the middle is St. Francis.  No photo inside is allowed.

The interior of the church if full of gold (photo from Wikipedia)


a late 19th century metallic style building


Part of the old town