The Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange) is one of the most important historic monuments in Porto and one of the sights that must definitely be on the list of all visitors to the city.
It was built in the second half of the 19th century in the neoclassical style and was destined to become the headquarters of the Porto Commercial Association, which reflects the importance of this activity in the city’s history. The building began to be used as the Stock Exchange at the orders of the queen Dona Maria II in 1841, although it was handed back to the Association in 1911.
Designed by the Porto architect Joaquim da Costa Lima Júnior, the building is quite remarkable in architectural terms, making unmistakable references to English Palladianism and other buildings in the city, such as the Hospital de Santo António designed by John Carr, the Academia da Marinha e Comércio (Naval Academy) by Carlos Amarante (the present-day Science Faculty) and the Feitoria Inglesa (Factory House) by John Whitehead.
Inside, it is worth visiting the Pátio das Nações (the main courtyard) and the magnificent Salão Árabe (Arabian Hall). Neo-Moorish in style, this is a unique space of great decorative wealth created by Gonçalves e Sousa in 1862. It was here that the most important official ceremonies in the city were once held, with receptions being organised for many of the world’s leading statesmen. It is now used for cultural events.