In one of the most breathtaking places of the city of Porto, in the old field of the Tower of the Brand, was erected the Crystal Palace, where one can contemplate a superb panorama on the Douro River, the margin of Miragaia and Massarelos, pouring our gaze into the vast Atlantic Ocean.
In effect, the English architect Thomas Dillen Jones began the palace in 1861, which was inaugurated on September 18, 1865, inspired by the model that had been held for the same event in the city of London a few years earlier. The Crystal Palace was conceived to host the Portuguese International Exhibition, showing where the new industrial and commercial achievements were exposed, according to the spirit that presided over the London event.
Its majestic halls, ships and annexes, molded in iron and glass structures, gave it a greater lightness and grace, which the twentieth century could not respect or appreciate. In fact, the camartelo dismantled it in the second half of our century, raising in its place a disgraceful and utilitarian armed concrete ship. This work was designed by the architect Carlos Loureiro, serving as headquarters for the 1951 World Hockey Skating Championship. Consecrated as a sports pavilion, it would later be renamed as Rosa Mota, in honor of one of the most distinguished Portuguese athletes.
The nineteenth-century memories of this palace persist in the romantic surrounding gardens, which have a wide variety of plants, flower beds and majestic trees – palms, plane trees and linden trees. In them they traveled families and lovers, poets and anonymous citizens. Here were the most important parties, such as those that animated the courts of Christmas, Carnival or the inevitable St. John.
A lake, with its small island, reflected in its calm waters the graceful silhouette of the already disappeared palace of glass and iron.
In its many green spots, in its belvederes, artificial caves and castle, or even in its mini-zoo with the monkey village, there still remains the nostalgia and enchantment of one of the great parks of Porto.