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Porto Municipality (Portugal)

Concelho do Porto, Distrito do Porto (Oporto)

Last modified: 2014-08-11 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: oporto | porto | st. mary | jesus | castle(yellow) | angel | sig civitatis virginis | harbour | dragon | invicta |
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[Porto (Oporto) municipality] 2:3 image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 6 Mar 1999
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About the Flag

It is a fairly typical Portuguese municipal flag, with the coat of arms centred on a field.

António Martins-Tuválkin,

Coat of arms

[Porto (Oporto) municipality CoA] image by Sérgio Horta,

The current municipal flag of Oporto (Porto): gyronny of eight, green and white, with the municipal coat of arms over all. This is: azure, by a sea of four wavy fesses vert and argent, and on a castle or, open gules, the Holly Virgin Mary of Vendôme, dressed gules, covered azure, holding Jesus Child dressed argent, both nimbed or, between two inescutcheons charged with Portugal ancient. A mural crown of five visible towers (city rank), the collar of the Sword and Tower Order, and a scroll reading the most magnificent of all portuguese municipal mottoes: "ANTIGA, MUI NOBRE, SEMPRE LEAL E INVICTA CIDADE DO PORTO", meaning «Ancient, most noble, always loyal and undefeated city of Oporto».
The current coat of arms is based on the ancient grant of 8 May 1354, (back then used in the city seal, not as flag nor shield) wich was: Two towers; in the center, on a basis and over an open door in the wall, the Virgin of Vendôme, between two angels, under a scroll with motto in fraktur script: "SIG-CIVITATIS-VIRGINIS".
The quartered version (Portugal over Oporto) was a much later invention (of 14 January 1837), and was swept away during the years 1935-1940.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 30 Apr 1998 and 6 Mar 1999


Previous Arms

Coat of arms (1837-1935)

The previous coat of arms of the Oporto municipality is used nowadays in the logo of Futebol Clube do Porto and seen on a number of older sources. It consists of a samnitic shield, quartered, with the Portuguese arms in the I and IV, and with the Oporto (current and ancient) arms in the II and the III, and an inescutcheon, red, charged with a golden heart, all crowned with a crown topped with a green dragon holding a scroll reading "INVICTA" (undefeated), and surrounded by the collar of the Order of Tower and Sword.
António Martins, 30 Apr 1998

The head gear of this coat of arms is a count’s coronet.
Mike Oettle, 27 Apr 2002


Version without Coat of Arms

[Porto (Oporto) municipality plain] 2:3 image by António Martins-Tuválkin, Apr 2010

Presentation of Porto

This is the third largest in Portugal (in population terms), with 249 180 inhabitants, in only 42 km², divided in seven communes [since 2013]. It is the head of [Greater] Oporto, the second largest conurbation in Portugal, with 1,5 million inhabitants, and lies on the right bank of the mouth of river Douro. It is one of the municipalities of the Oporto district (old province of Douro Litoral). It’s name, "porto", means "harbour" and from it is derived the name of Portugal itself, from meadieval latin "Portus Cale", this Cale being currently the city of [Vila Nova de] Gaia, in the left river bank.
The english form "Oporto" originated from the contraction of "O Porto" ("the harbour"), but this "O" is not part of the city name (like it is in other neolatin names like "Le Havre", "La Guardia" or "La Spezia"); it was a misunderstanding of the funny Portuguese habit of using definite articles with propper nouns in normal speech.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 6 Mar 1999

Vexillologist Adolf Duran in one of his articles about flags in Portugal [drn94] states incorrectly that Oporto is both a city and a town — perhaps influenced by the curious status of Madrid, which is officially a town (villa), in spite of being Spain’s largest settlement, and/or by the Azorean town Vila do Porto, which used erroneously a gyronny flag and includes in its name the word "vila" ("town") and "porto" ("harbour").
António Martins, 11 Oct 2007


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