Rotunda da Boavista, also known as Praça de Mouzinho de Albuquerque or simply ‘The Boavista Roundabout’, is one of the largest squares (or circles, rather) in Porto.
The central feature of the square is a statue dedicated to the heroes of the Peninsular War fought from 1808–1814, which was when Napoleon ordered his French troops to take over Portugal in an attempt to cut the country’s trade with Britain.
At 45 metres tall the statue is hard to miss, and, given the plentitude of pigeons in Porto, it’s prudent to keep your mouth shut when ogling at the lion pancaking an eagle atop the central column.
The lion and eagle sum up the story however, with the lion representing the British and Portuguese alliance (which is the oldest alliance in history with the first formal treaty signed in 1386), and the eagle representing the French forces of Napoleon. As you probably gathered, the alliance won.
While you’re there, have a poke around Boavista, one of Porto’s ritziest suburbs. The architecture changes as you enter this ‘hood so it’s an interesting contrast to the historic city centre. Nearby you’ll find the concert hall Casa da Música and the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art. If you want to do the swanky suburb hop, continue on to Foz then walk back into town along the Douro River.
The Portugal Wire is the blog of Australian travel writer, copywriter and photographer Emily McAuliffe.
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