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Matosinhos Guide

The best fish of Porto

Matosinhos is, similarly to Gaia, the other Porto's sister city, so that many people say that the best Invicta's restaurants are there. And it's indeed excellent the gastronomic offer, with the fish and the seafood dominating along the Leixões Port, but with a good offer for all other tastes as well. And the Port of Leixões is precisely one of the major facilitators of the city's economy and the largest Portuguese artificial harbor. It was built in the late 18th century, transforming the urban and industrial development led by the canning industry.

Matosinhos has more than a thousand years of history and grew from 25 to 167 thousand inhabitants between 1900 and 2001. The settlement is even prior to nationality, founded in the year 900 as Matesinus. In 1258 it became Matusiny and, in 1514, D. Manuel I granted it floral. In 1833, the county of Bouças was created, which comprises the parishes of Matosinhos and Leça da Palmeira. The villa of Matosinhos (Matosinhos and Leça) was created afterwards, in 1853, but only in 1909 the municipality arose in definite. The distinction of City took place in 1984.

Matosinhos is today a municipality of great development, where the industry has been giving place to the tertiary sector. Still, the industries of petrochemistry, canning and food, textiles and electrical equipments are extremely dynamic. And there is still great fishing activity.

As for the origin of the county, the Romans opened, 2000 years ago, routes such as the Cale-Bracara and built bridges such as the Ponte da Pedra, developing communications and commerce. The estuary of the Leça and Lavra rivers was the most Romanized place, marked, in the High Middle Ages, by the Bouças Monastery, which enabled the development of the whole conglomeration that is the current municipality's basis. in the 16th century, Matosinhos became one of the main suppliers of the Porto's city, and the Matosinhos Church was built, and received the image of Bom Jesus (Lord of Matosinhos) that previously was at the Bouças Monastery and whose church service, two centuries later, in the height of the Baroque style, originated the Nicolau Nasoni's remodeling that characterizes the temple.

According to the legend, the image of the Lord of Matosinhos is one of the oldest of all Christendom. It was carved by Nicodemus, who witnessed the last moments of Jesus' life, being therefore considered a true copy of his face. The image is hollow because is told that Nicodemus would have hidden the Passion's instruments inside it, and in those times of persecution, the sacred objects were hidden or thrown overboard to escape the bonfire. Nicodemus threw the image to the Mediterranean, in Judea, and this was carried away by the waters to the Matosinhos beach, having lost an arm in the voyage.

The population of Bouças erected him a temple and called him Lord of Bouças, worshipping him during 50 years, thanks to his many miracles. One day, a woman was picking up firewood for the fireplace, in Matosinhos, when she found a piece of wood that she joined to the others. At home, she threw it several times to the fire and every time it jumped out of the fireplace. Her daughter, dumb by birth, was gesturing with despair, attempting to say something and she finally stammered, before the astonished mother, that the piece of wood was the arm that adjusted to the image as if it had never separated from the rest of the image. In the 16th century, the image was moved to the Church in Matosinhos and became known as Our Lord of Matosinhos. Hence the church service of one of the most important Portuguese popular festivals arose, the Lord of Matosinhos, which happens between July and August, and whose highlight is an imposing firework's session.

But the municipality of Matosinhos is also opened to the sea. From there mariners departed for the Discoveries and on it landed the D. Pedro's army, who has definitively implanted the liberalism in Portugal. - marked by the Obelisco da Praia da Memória (Obelisk of the Memória Beach), between Perafita and Lavra.

Notwithstanding the fact that Matosinhos has a very popular beach between the locals, Leça da Palmeira is the municipality’s beach par excellence - and it's also in this parish that the Exponor is located, one of the most important venues of business's fairs in Portugal. Going from the Leça Beach towards the north, there is an entire waterfront with beautiful beaches, delightful boardwalks, and various restaurants where the tasty fish is the protagonist, but always with an offer of quality for other tastes.

It’s also in Matosinhos, on the border with Porto, that the anemone's sculpture, authored by the American Janet Echelman, whom nobody call She Changes nowadays. It's a tribute to the Matosinhos's fishing community and a reference work not only nationally but also internationally. The Sculpture Magazine considered it "one of the truly significant public artworks in recent years". In 2004, the Anemone became the globally recognized symbol of Matosinhos.

Another of the county's ex-libris is also in Leça da Palmeira: the Boa Nova teahouse, beside the lighthouse. It's a teahouse and a restaurant designed by Álvaro Siza Vieira - one of his first works, completed in 1963 and currently under redevelopment. It was built on the rocks, only two meters from the sea, and it's one of the most popular places of the local architecture's lovers, of those who want to enjoy a good meal, and especially of those who like to contemplate the sea.

 

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