Bolsa Palace or the Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa) is a beautiful historical building located on the Infante D. Henrique Square, right in the historic centre of Porto. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also became a National Monument in 1982.
The history of Bolsa Palace in Porto is fascinating and the many splendid rooms make it a worthwhile place to visit! There is also an onsite store, with a wide range of souvenirs available for purchase as well as publications available in multiple languages.
There is also the palace workshop/goldsmithing to visit, where the importance of goldsmithing in Portugal and in particular a type of Portuguese art known as Filigrana is highlighted. Filagree is a goldsmithing technique combining very fine strands of gold or silver onto plates of the same metal, creating beautiful circular motifs.
History of Bolsa Palace Porto
This palace is located beside the St Francis Church of Porto, founded in the 13th century. It used to be the site of a convent, however, in 1832 during the liberal wars, it was hit and destroyed by a fire. In 1841, Queen Mary II donated the ruins of the convent to the merchants of the city who then decided to use the spot to build the seat of the Commercial Association.
The building of the palace began in 1842, led by architect Joaquim da Costa Lima Junior, the outside has been designed in a very Neopalladian style, similar to other buildings of its time, such as the Hospital of St Anthony. The building was predominantly finished by 1850 and opened in 1891, however, decoration of the interior continued until 1910 and features work by many different artists.
Inside Bolsa Palace Porto
The central courtyard called the Courtyard of the Nations is encased by a large, metallic, octagonal dome, with glass panels, which beautifully reflects light around the courtyard! The lower section of the dome features the Portuguese coat-of-arms and the countries that Portugal would have had commercial relations with during the 19th century. This used to be the original trading floor, used to impress European business people!
After seeing the splendid courtyard, you can take a journey up the incredible marble and granite staircase, decorated with ornate garlands of flowers and Corinthian capitals, which will lead you to the Golden Room, which as the name suggests is covered with gold leaf and displays painted portraits of former presidents. You can then view the General Assembly Room, which is a wooden wonder and still holds biannual meetings of the Porto Commercial Association. The Court Room is done in French Renaissance style, with many paintings linking to the importance of the port wine trade in Porto.
There are many splendid rooms within the palace to view. One that many consider being the highlight of their visit to the palace is The Arab Room! A 300-metre sized room, decorated in a decadent, exotic Moorish Revival style, inspired by the Alhambra Islamic Palace in Spain. It is a breath-taking room that is currently used as a reception hall for notable people such as heads of state or it is also used for music concerts.
How to get there
As mentioned, the palace is centrally located within Porto, thus making it easily accessible for all. Many bus lines pass directly by the palace, including 1, 57, 91,23 and 49.
From April to October, the palace is open for viewing from 9:00 – 18:30 and during winter, from November to March, it is open from 9:00 to 12:30 then 14:00 to 17:30. The last admission is 30 minutes prior to closing time.
Ticket prices and booking
A huge positive for this venue is that all children under 12 can get in for free with a paying adult! An adults ticket costs €10 and seniors (over 65) and students with a valid student card can get in for €6.50 which is a great value!
A guided tour is included in the cost, if this is something that interests you, it’s a fantastic way to learn more about the history of each of the rooms you will be viewing. This takes approx 30 minutes and is available in Portuguese, Spanish, French and English.
There are times when certain rooms may be closed for special events, this isn’t always detailed beforehand, but you can sometimes find out this information online, so if there’s a particular room you wish to see, booking online would be the best way to go!
Tickets can be purchased at the following site:
Overall, the Balsa Palace is an architectural marvel, well worth a visit while in Porto!
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