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Port of Leixões, principal port serving the city of Porto and northern Portugal. It is an artificial harbour on the Atlantic Ocean, within the town of Matosinho, northwest of central Porto. Porto is prevented by a sandbar from having a deepwater harbour of its own. Ever since the Romans constructed a fort here and began using Oporto (known locally as Porto) as a trading post, the city has been a prosperous commercial centre. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Oporto benefited from the wealth generated by Portugal’s maritime discoveries, and later, the establishment of a lucrative wine trade with Britain compensated for the loss of the spice trade. Today, Portugal’s second-largest city is a thriving, cosmopolitan place and is famous for its production of port wine. Its historic centre is UNESCO-protected and the city was even awarded the status of European City of Culture in 2001.
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