Romanticism had a very impactful effect in the aesthetics history, and culture of the city. All over its recent urban growths we can find innumerable medievalist and romanticist houses. In front of the imposing city hall, a statue of Almeida Garrett, a prolific romantic writer. The most remarkable of the traces of romanticism in Porto, however, has to be its gardens; of which the Crystal Palace Gardens standout in size, scope, and beauty.
Entering the Crystal Palace Gardens one will be met with a rather controversial sight: the Rosa Mota Sports Pavilion or Super Bock Arena. The dual names are born out of a controversy that managed to make the Crystal Palace somehow more unpopular still, when the Pavilion was renamed after the beer company Super Bock, to the detriment of one of the most important Portuguese athletes, the olympic gold medalist marathon runner Rosa Mota. Backtracking to the pavilions inception however, one would find that its rather visible presence in the skyline of Porto is quite recent, even within the garden’s history: dates back to as soon as 1951 when it was host for the 1952 Roller. Before then, instead of a concrete dome, there was an actual Crystal Palace built in 1865 and modelled after the Londonian one, a marvel of the confluence of the eternal Classical traditions and the technological innovations of the era. Of wrought iron and glass, and abiding the Classical Order, true to the Victorian Spirit.
As unfortunate as the loss of the palace was, there is still quite a lot to enjoy in the surrounding gardens. Remarkable gardens, in fact, the most remarkable ones in the city. From the botanical variety to the the incredible panoramic viewpoints over the Douro river, there is quite a bit to find for all intents and interests. The park is happily populated by waddling ducks, sumptuous peacocks, clucking chicken, and the more unwelcome guests too: the squalorous pigeons and the belligerent seagulls, as with anywhere. These are merely the most obvious inhabitants as in the gentle embrace of the garden’s many trees rest many a variety of birds, sure to be a delight for those more ornithologically-inclined. From ginkgos to magnolias, to oaks, plane trees, camellias and Brazilian pines. Rose gardens, small lakes, water fountains, a medieval-like tower viewpoint, chapel, and all the wonders of the best of romanticist gardens are among the things that can be found in the delightful Crystal Palace gardens.
The gardens make a beautiful landscape and scenery, fantastic for a stroll, relaxing, studying, drawing, picnicking or just gazing and listening to the rustling of the leaves, quacking ducks and the occasional cries of a peacock.
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