Porto or Oporto, city, northwestern Portugal, capital of Porto District, mostly on the steep northern bank of the Douro (Duero) River, near the Atlantic Ocean. With Lisbon, it is one of Portugal’s chief economic centers and the focus of a large metropolitan area. Suburbs include the deepwater port of Porto de Leixões, located to the northwest; and Vila Nova de Gaia, located on the southern bank of the Douro and the principal site of the region’s famed wine storage warehouses. Port wine (named for the city) is Porto’s most noted manufacture and export; other products include processed fish, textiles, and clothing. Among the points of interest of the city are the old quarter, with narrow, cobbled streets; the cathedral (12th-18th century); and the 18th-century Torre dos Clérigos (Tower of the Clerics), a granite structure 75 m (246 ft) high. Also here are the University of Porto (1911), the Higher School of Fine Arts (1836), and the National Museum of Soares dos Reis, containing a collection of paintings and antiquities.
Cale, a pre-Roman settlement on the southern bank of the Douro River, was occupied by the Romans and became known as Portus Cale. The Visigoths held the city from around 540 until 716, when the Moors gained control. The Moors relinquished Porto in the late 11th century. The city developed as an exporting center of port wine in the late 17th century. The construction in 1890 of an artificial harbor at Porto de Leixões contributed to Porto’s later growth. Population (1997 estimate) 273,060.