Hi friends,

Commerce is very important here in this city…so important that Porto built a Palace for the Stock Exchange!

Construction of the Palace started in 1842 and was completed in 1910. In the grand Hall of Nations in the Stock Exchange Palace, you can see the Coat of Arms of each of the countries that conducted business with Portugal around the border of the ceiling. The main countries were Spain, England and France.

Here is the Portugal Coat of Arms:

In the center of the Hall of Nations, I found the most amazing ceramic tile decoration.

In the lower right-hand corner you can see a picture of the paddles representing the importance of commerce by sea.

After you leave the Hall of Nations, you must climb up a great staircase with huge, bronze chandeliers hanging above your head. As I am small, it took me quite some time to make it up all those stairs, but I was glad I did it! So much to see!

One thing that I was really impressed with were all of the wooden carvings and sculptures. Check out these lions inside the palace courtroom:

And believe it or not, the carving on the top of this table in the General Assembly Room took three years to complete because the artist used nothing more than a pocket knife!

Since I am much lower to the ground than all the humans I know, I tend to notice the floors. And this one in one of the offices of the palace was absolutely amazing! Look at this artistry:

My very favorite room was the last one that we saw. It is called the Arabic Room since it was decorated in the Arabic style. Check it out:

Although the Palace no longer serves as the Porto Stock Exchange, it is still home to the Porto Commercial Association. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Monument of Portugal.

I really like it here in Porto! I hope that one day you can come and visit, too!

Your palace-enthralled friend,

Peter