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Bolhão Market

The emblematic Bolhão’s Market is located in the heart of the city of Oporto, in the parish of Santo Ildefonso. This market constitutes the whole of a block, bounded by Rua Fernandes Tomás, Rua de Alexandre Braga, Rua Formosa and Rua de Sá da Bandeira.

The Market is one of the most iconic symbols of the city, for everything that integrates it, from the smells, the colors and mainly by its workers who represent the soul of Oporto. It is divided into sections and specialties in the interior, namely: horticultural area, butcher, fishmonger and flowers. Outside there are other stores, such as perfumeries, coffee shops and many other varieties.

As a city landmark, in February 2003 the building was declared a property of public interest, and in 2013 classified as a monument of public interest.

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1. History

The origin of the name Bolhão goes back to the date of 1838, when the Oporto City Council proclaimed that it intended to build a square on the lands of the cabido, which had been acquired. In this way, they found an extensive lameiro that existed in that area and that consequently formed a water bubble, thus giving rise to the designation of Bolhão.

In order to ensure the supply of food, due to the expansion of the city, city leaders at the beginning of the 20th century saw the need to build a new market. At the beginning of the 20th century, city leaders decided to build a new market. Therefore, in 1910 a project by the architect Casimiro Barbosa appeared, however it was abandoned, and it is only 4 years later that the current market is built, with the project of the architect Correia da Silva.

During the first half of the 20th century, several changes were made to the building. The construction of the floor that divided the building, but also that connected the entrances between Rua Sá da Bandeira and Alexandre Braga, was in the 1940s. However, it was only in the second half of this century that the need for a total restructuring was realized to the market, as serious pathologies were noticed on the market's floors.

In 1992 a new project appears, presented by Joaquim Massena that would consolidate and rehabilitate the market. Several other projects by public tender were being carried out.

In 2018, the Bolhão’s Market building begins its deep restructuring work with no scheduled opening date, however if you wish you can visit the temporary Bolhão’s Market located in the building of the La Vie shopping center.

2. Architecture

The Bolhão’s Market presents itself as an avant-garde work and is characterized by its late neoclassical style. In its construction, reinforced concrete was used in conjunction with metal structures, roofs in riga wood and granite stone masonry, materials that were not normally used, especially together.

Its plan is rectangular, with a central patio and two axes. What makes it so special and monumental are the turrets on the corners as opposed to the horizontal lines marked on the surfaces of the facades. This being an example of a Portuguese building influenced by the École de Beaux Arts.

The interior of the building stands out for its main facade facing south, with a pediment with a coat of arms where you can admire the stone sculptures made by Bento Cândido da Silva. It was built around a fountain, and consists of two floors connected by stairs and a large central courtyard.

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