Teaser Rua das Flores (2022) by Cátia OliveiraFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Rua das Flores: Creation. Uses. Mutations. (2022) by Cátia OliveiraFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Creation. Uses. Mutations.

Century-old Rua das Flores is now one of the most cosmopolitan and emblematic streets in Porto. Located in the historic centre, it has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1996.

The nobility houses, the Misericórdia Museum and Church, the traditional shops, the diversity of the façades' materials and the urban and street art are some of the attraction factors of what was once regarded as the noblest and most important street in Porto.

Map of Porto, George Balck (1813) by George BallkFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Round Plan of the City of Porto, George Balck

Originally opened in 1521, Rua das Flores is the axis of connection between the city’s lower and upper levels, accompanying its economic and urban transformations: the demolition of the medieval walls and the creation of new arteries from the mid-18th century.

Being the nerve centre of the city, its opening made possible the connection between two important monastic structures: the medieval Convent of São Domingos (once located in the square with the same name) and the new Convent of São Bento de Avé Maria, on the site of the modern-day São Bento station.

The Ferrazes Bravo/Maias House, now the Porto by Flores Hotel by DesconhecidoFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Ferrazes Bravo/Maias House (Rua das Flores, Porto)

It is the most important commercial street of the city's original nucleus and has known periods of prosperity and decline, having recovered its economic and cultural strength in recent year

The new coexists with the old: façades are preserved, interiors are restored, signposts are kept or added, buildings are adjusted to new functions. Noble houses, marked by their armorial stones, are converted into commercial establishments or lodging.

Stickers on a traffic sign in Rua das Flores (Porto) (2022) by Cátia OliveiraFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Stickers on a traffic sign in Rua das Flores (Porto)

In some buildings, tradition persists. Known as Rua do Ouro (Gold Street) due to the large number of goldsmiths installed there, some establishments have survived the test of time. The Ourivesaria Coutinho, founded in 1879, is an on-site example of the resilience of this craft.

Photograph of the Ourivesaria Coutinho (Rua das Flores, Porto by DesconhecidoFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Ourivesaria Coutinho (Rua das Flores, Porto)

According to the memorialist Father Rebelo da Costa, at the end of the 18th century this was the street in the city with the richest shops "in wool and silk (...), all kinds of groceries, porcelain, gold and silverware shops".

Local business establishment (Rua das Flores, Porto) (2022) by Cátia OliveiraFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Traditional shops in Rua das Flores (Porto)

The street maintains some of its traditional commercial activity, with a few shops where you can still buy local goods and find bulk grocery sales.

500 Years of the Misericórdia do Porto: procession in Rua das Flores (Porto), Álbum da “Festa de Rua dos 500 anos (1999)”, 1999, From the collection of: Faculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto
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Firemen washing the Largo de São Domingos for the Summer festivities (Saint John's Day), Aurélio Paz dos Reis, 1908, From the collection of: Faculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto
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As A. Pimentel (1945) states, "(...) all processions pass through Rua das Flores. The Terço, the Trindade, the Carmo, the Corpo de Deus, the Cinza, the Passos, the Entêrro. Days before, it is a hassle with the washing of the stairs, of the room and of the windows and with the cleaning of the furniture. (...) On the day of the procession both I and the little one have to dress up to receive the madams, who sometimes I don't even know (...)".

Register of a musical performance in Rua das Flores (Porto) (2022) by Cátia OliveiraFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Register of a musical performance in Rua das Flores (Porto)

At present, Rua das Flores is the stage for various street shows and continues to be an active venue for the city's main celebrations. On São João (Saint John's Day, 24 June), many of those heading to the riverside area pass through it to see the fireworks.

Affluence of people visiting Rua das Flores (Porto) (2022) by Cátia OliveiraFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Affluence of people visiting Rua das Flores (Porto)

Every day, the street's routine is shaped by hundreds of people passing by on a stroll or on their way to their jobs and routines. Requalified, the street is now a welcoming and meeting point for both locals and visitors.

Souvenir shop dedicated to the city of Porto (Rua das Flores, Porto) (2022) by Cátia OliveiraFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Souvenir shop allusive to the city of Porto

In recent years, the influx of people has brought new commercial demands to this arterial street, with a proliferation of cafés, pubs, restaurants, different kinds of lodging, traditional commerce and souvenir shops.

Coffee break! (2022) by Marisa SantosFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Coffee break!

The various terraces in the street are places to relax and a privileged site for observing the various material stratigraphies, some of which resist the passage of time and others that generate new layers.

Credits: Story



EXHIBITION COORDINATORS AND SCIENTIFIC COMMISSION: Ana Cristina Sousa (FLUP/CITCEM) & Maria Leonor Botelho (FLUP/CITCEM)

CURATORSHIP: Ana Cristina Sousa (FLUP/CITCEM) & Maria Leonor Botelho  (FLUP/CITCEM).

PRODUCTION & CONTENTS: Cátia Oliveira, Cecília Cardoso, Diana Felícia, Diogo Teixeira, José Ferreira e Silva, Marisa Pereira Santos e Tiago Cruz.

SPONSORS: FLUP; CITCEM; MMIPO.

TRANSLATION: Raquel Viúla Faria (financed by National Funds through the FCT under the project UIDB/04059/2020).

REFERENCES:
PIMENTEL, Alberto. (1945). O Arco de Vandoma. Porto: Livraria Figueirinhas.


GUIMARÃES, Claudio Corrêa d’Oliveira. () “Três Ruas do Brugo”. O Tripeiro, V Série, Ano IX, pp. 216-219.


BRANCO, Luís Aguiar (2009). Lojas do Porto. Porto: Edições Afrontamento, Vol. 1.


FERREIRA-ALVES, Joaquim Jaime (1988-1990). O Porto na época dos Almadas: Arquitetura e obras públicas. Porto: Câmara Municipal do Porto. Vol. 1 e 2.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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