The Bolsa Palace
The neoclassical Stock Exchange Palace is located in the historic centre of Porto. The palace is perhaps best known for its magnificently decorated interior, most notably the 'Arab Room'
The Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace) in Porto was built to impress. Whilst it is no longer the centre of trade in Porto it still doesn't fail to impress. When the palace was built in the 1840s Porto was a thriving city. In order to compete with other European cities the merchant's association of Porto decided to create a lavish building that would be the city's commercial hub.
Whilst impressive, the Neoclassical façade of the palace with its columns and clock tower does little to convey the splendor within. It is little surprise the building took around eight years to complete, whereas the interior took the best part of 60 years.
For most people the highlight of the palace is the Arab Room. Decorated in the Moorish revivalist style this room was inspired by the Palace of Alhambra in Granada. This incredibly ornate room is almost overwhelming with barely a centimeter left undecorated. Today, the Arab room is used to receive visiting heads of state and dignitaries.
There are several other wonderful rooms throughout the palace and a host of architectural features. The most notable of these must be the three-storey high Hall of Nations (Pátio das Nações). This central courtyard is covered by an incredible octagonal dome of wrought iron and glass. Around the hall are the coats of arms of the countries which have had significant trade relations with Porto. Up until the mid 1990s this is where the Porto Stock Exchange trading floor was.