Photographer's Note

Hi Dear TE friends,

Enjoy this picture of 'Vila Nova de Gaia' city, taken from Porto side !

You can see the Monastery of the Pilar Hill, the typical boat from Porto, the ‘Rabelo’. In Background, we see one of many Cellars of the Porto Wine. (Calem cellar)

Part of the area classified by UNESCO as World Heritage in December 1996, the Monastery of Serra do Pilar is the architectural landmark of Gaia. ...

The bustling suburb of Vila Nova da Gaia lies opposite Oporto on the steep south bank of the mighty River Douro.
Sitting on top of a pre-Roman fortified hamlet, it was given town status in 1255 by King Afonso III and then bequeathed to the aristocracy in order to counteract the power of the bishops of neighbouring Oporto, who were charging unreasonably high shipping tolls at the time.
Gaia today is dominated by the Port wine lodges, with over fifty wine companies based in its narrow, twisting streets. Here, the ageing and blending of most of the world's supply of Port wine takes place beneath a sea of red roofs emblazoned with some of the most famous names in winemaking.
What to see. The 16th-century monastery church of Serra do Pilar features unusual circular cloisters and panoramic views of Oporto and the River Douro. From the church's terrace, the future Duke of Wellington planned his surprise attack on the French in 1809.

A tour of the cellars is a must for any visitor to Vila Nova da Gaia, followed by a wine-tasting. One of the best-organised lodges is Sandeman, founded in 1790 and housed in a former 16th-century convent with a small museum. Taylor's, one of the last privately-owned English wine companies, offers a lively, informative tour of the premises and impressive views from its spacious outdoor terrace.

These are the ‘Rabelo’ Boats. In the past they were used to transport the Porto Win, now they are used to transport people in trips along the Douro River.

As you cross the bridge Luís I to Vila Nova de Gaia, you may admire the ‘Rabelo’ boats on the riverbank. They are the symbol of the famous Port Wine and the trademark of the Port Wine Cellars.

The ‘Rabelo’ boat, which was invented in the 9th century, was used for transporting the products from the farms of the Douro for centuries. In 1792, the ‘Companhia Geral da Agricultura e Vinha do Alto Douro’ published numerous charters and documents concerning this type of boat, therefore establishing the identity of the ‘Rabelo’.
The purpose of its peculiar shape was to overcome the natural obstacles of the Douro river and to make the boatman’s task easier.

The large amount of Port Wine produced in the farms required frequent transportation downriver. The journey lasted more than a week and the conditions were precarious, often leading to dangerous accidents.
Following the construction of the railway and the improvement of the public highway, the ‘Rabelo’ boat gradually lost its importance. Finally, the dams along the Douro river brought its activity to a standstill.

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Additional Photos by Aires dos Santos (AiresSantos) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6708 W: 209 N: 14053] (56155)
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