This week I’ll be posting more images from our day in Porto, and will start with an area located between the Livraria Lello and the Torre dos Clérigos.
This olive tree is fairly old (you don’t get trunks that thick for many years), and is one of many that have been recently transplanted into what appears to be a new park under construction. From where I took this photo, the park looked like any other.
But when we turned the corner and crossed the street to the Torre dos Clérigos, I took a look back and stopped in surprise.
It’s a park on a building roof! With full-grown olive trees, and plenty of them. Which brought up a bunch of instant questions: How are they able to offer those trees enough depth of soil to grow? What is the weight of that roof? What kind of structural supports have been factored into the building to bear the load? What happens when it rains and the weight increases by a gazillion kilos due to the water soaking into the soil?
This image, taken with a zoom from about halfway up the Torre dos Clérigos, gives a better idea of the area covered — a city block, in my American way of thinking. At the corners, where the park’s paths join the street, the roof comes to ground level. At other points, it’s nearly two stories high. There appears to be a passage through its center that will be left open to pedestrian traffic, which could make a heck of a courtyard. I’m still not sure what’s happening with the bare concrete on top — the part on the right seems pretty wide to be just a path.
If any Porto area natives know more about this, I’d love to learn. This surely is one of the more unusual gardens I’ve come across.
(Note for orientation: the Livraria Lello is visible at top right — it’s the pale cream building centered between the darker ones. If that passage through the park/building center is indeed going to remain open as a pedestrian passage, it will be a natural connector between the famous bookstore and the entrance to the Torre dos Clérigos — two popular points on a tourist’s stroll through the city.)