150 years of the Crystal Palace gardens in Porto

Attractions

September 15, 2016

Asked by Laura, The Netherlands

Asked by Laura, The Netherlands

I organize private tours in Porto

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I already wrote about the garden dedicated to the women of Porto, so it is the time to write about what is perhaps the most beloved garden by both locals and tourists. I am speaking about the Crystal Palace gardens in Porto, which are celebrating their 150th anniversary, with many events (to know which, read the article until the end :))

The story of the Crystal Palace gardens in Porto

But these gardens belong to which Crystal Palace?! Even the most inattentive eyes flow to the building that we call “the UFO”, and not to, as it would be expected by the name, a crystal palace. Then let’s dig in the history of the Crystal Palace gardens in Porto.

The International Exhibition of Porto

The Crystal Palace of Porto, inspired by London’s Crystal Palace, was built to host the International Exhibition of Porto, with over 4,300 exhibitors from 25 countries. The exhibition was inaugurated in 1865 with all the pomp and circumstance.crystal palace porto crystal palace porto history
Although the International Exhibition of Porto was a success, the dream of the founders of the Crystal Palace, which was to attract the finest European minds to Porto, never became true. However, the Crystal Palace held, over time, various exhibitions, as you can see on these old photos:

crystal palace gardens porto

Pottery Exhibition of Caldas da Rainha, in 1901 – Photo by Aurélio Paz dos Reis, from the blog www.portoarc.blogspot.pt

automobiles saloon crystal palace porto

Automobiles’ Saloon, 1926. Photo from the blog www.portoarc.blogspot.pt

industrial exhibition crystal palace porto history

Industrial exhibition, 1930. Photo from the blog www.portoarc.blogspot.pt

Colonial Exhibition of Porto – 1934

It was, however, the Colonial Exhibition that catapulted the image of the Crystal Palace, during the 30s. In 1934, our dictatorial regime promoted the Colonial Exhibition of Porto, in order to position itself as a modern regime of the Portuguese colonies.

This was particularly relevant at a time when Portuguese colonies were holding grudges against mainland Portugal (in 1930, for example, there was a confrontation between civil servants and military contesting the authority of the central power).

It was imperative to internationally promote Portugal as an empire overseas, and internally, to convince the Portuguese population of the motto of the regime: Portugal is not a small country. Porto, where a huge volume of goods from the colonies was traded every year, and, more specifically, the Crystal Palace gardens, where chosen to host the Colonial Exhibition.

It was such an ambitious exhibition that a train circulated inside the Crystal Palace gardens in Porto, as well as a cable car.crystal palace porto antique photos
Even more extraordinary than that: authentic villages, with indigenous “imported” from the colonies, where built so that visitors could see what life was like beyond seas. And one of the main attractions was Rosinha, a native of Guinea, much to the delight of Porto’s men…history crystal palace porto rosinha

The destruction of the Crystal Palace in Porto

In 1952 it was announced the World Hockey Championship, to be held in Porto. Thus on January 9th, 1952 the destruction of the Crystal Palace was voted in the municipal assembly, although the building was already being demolished since January 6th, except the facade. Indeed, in this picture you can see the infamous “UFO” that now inhabits the gardens briefly hid behind the facade of the real Crystal Palace!

destruction crystal palace porto history

Photo from the blog www.portoarc.blogspot.pt

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The current Crystal Palace gardens in Porto

Now you can understand that the relationship of Porto with its missing Crystal Palace is something boisterous. Even though we have not known the original Crystal Palace, we still miss it when we walk through its beautiful gardens…

current crystal palace gardens porto

The Linden’s Avenue, inside the Crystal Palace gardens in Porto. Photo by wHaTEvEr-

crystal palace porto fountain

Photo by hans pohl

crystal palace gardens porto animals

Photo by hans pohl

view crystal palace gardens

Photo by ssn

Extra: Go on a private tour in Porto

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Check this page to learn more about my tours in Porto, or simply send an email to sara@portoalities.com. I will shortly get back to you with a tailor made tour designed specifically for you.

It will be a pleasure to welcome you in Porto!

2018-09-03T11:08:30+00:00 September 15th, 2016|Attractions|0 Comments
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