Café Porta do Olival

The oldest cafe at Porto

O Porta do Olival café is the most ancient establishment of its kind still in activity at Porto. It is known that it was already active in 1853, at the same place werw it is still. It as, therefore, more than 160 years. On an ad, published in 1926 in “Terras de Portugal” magazine, it is already referred to as the oldest café at Porto city.

The name “Porta do Olival”, is related with the door that existed in the so called medieval wall, a solid wall built with thick granite blocks, between 1336 and 1374, for city defense.

The wall was 11 meters high and 3500 meters long. The “Olival” door, one of the most important of the city, was defended by a tower, built in the shape of fortress. It took the name of a long land of olive trees that, since ancient times, existed at the location were it was built.

It was at this door that, in the XV century, the city hall had installed a bell, called “sino de correr”, that at sunset was tolled, so that Porto citizens return to their homes. Through this door crossed the pilgrims, that had on the horizon a shining star of sanctuary, like Santiago de Compostela, for example. It was also yhe door that, in 1387, D. Filipa, the oldest daughter of Lencaster duke, entered Porto to marry the portuguese king D. João I.


Germano Silva, Porto Historian