Starting with Pedro IV's heart: Porto's most precious treasure
Here's a compilation of stories, some of which were brought round by visitors, about one peculiar topic: hearts that were separated & taken away from the rest of their owner's body to a fairly distant burial place or even to be scientifically studied. Today PORTO RUNNING TOURS is celebrating 4 years of operation and so, because one of our best-sellers from day one has been the HEART OF PORTO TOUR, let's start with a shorter version of the amazing story about our dear Pedro IV's heart, our city's most precious treasure, a true story we always share with running visitors...!
How did Pedro IV's heart end up in Porto?
Most visitors find it bizarre but that's a fact: Porto has in its care the heart of the Portuguese 'king-soldier' Pedro IV!
The presence of his heart in the city was his own decision, which he stated on his will. Having died of tuberculosis at the age of 35, a mere couple of years after having been besieged in Porto, his heart - the actual organ - was brought in a ship from Lisbon and handed for safe-keeping to the Lapa church fraternity. The vault's keys, inside which his heart is kept in a special vase with formaldehyde, are on the Mayor's desk at the city hall...! On special occasions, the vault is opened and the heart is publicly displayed.
While Porto holds on to his heart, his body was taken to São Paulo, the city where he declared Brazil's independence, on the margins of the Ipiranga river, back in 1821.
Lapa's Church, in Porto, where Pedro IV's heart rests since 1837:
Why would anyone write such a thing on their will?
Porto Running Tours in its Heart of Porto tour takes you to the streets Pedro IV walked on while his impulsive heart was still pounding in his chest! To follow some of Pedro's footsteps in Lisbon you can contact Lisbon Running Tours. If you're visiting Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro the organization to contact is Rio Running Tours - remember this though: he's known as emperor Pedro I over there!
NEXT: PHAR LAP's huge HEART
Phar Lap was the champion that Australians needed during the Depression of the 1930's. The gangly and awkward two-year-old from New Zealand became Australia's greatest racehorse. Between September 1929 and November 1931, Phar Lap ran 41 races and won 36 of them.
On 5 April 1932, Phar Lap died in mysterious circumstances in San Francisco, US. In Australia, Phar Lap’s death was seen as a great tragedy, and rumours spread that the horse might have been poisoned. (source)
As you can read in NMA's website "Phar Lap’s heart (...) weighed 6.35 kilograms. This is more than 1.5 times the weight of an average thoroughbred racehorse heart, which weighs 3–4 kilograms.
The saying, ‘a heart as big as Phar Lap’s’ alludes to the horse’s strength and staying power, as well as the weight of his heart. It is used to indicate great courage, generosity or power."
back to humans:
Dr. Livingstone's HEART is under a tree in Zambia!
” Creeping with awe to the verge, I peered down into a large rent which had been made from bank to bank of the broad Zambezi, and saw that a stream of a thousand yards broad leaped down a hundred feet and then became suddenly compressed into a space of fifteen to twenty yards….the most wonderful sight I had witnessed in Africa.” David Livingstone
Livingstone became the most famous explorer of his time in Britain, known for his expeditions and missionary work in Africa.
After many expeditions and adventures in Africa, there was a time when he completely lost contact with the outside world for six years. With the explorer missing, the London Daily Telegraph and New York Herald developed a transatlantic venture, and journalist Henry Stanley was sent to Africa to find Livingstone. Stanley located the physician in Ujiji in late 1871, and upon seeing him, uttered the famous words: “Dr Livingstone, I presume?”
David Livingstone died at the age of 60, in Chief Chitambo’s Village in North Rhodesia - now Zambia. This man was so important to the Africans, that upon his death - from dysentery and malaria on 1 May 1873 - they tried to keep his body. With much dismay, the villagers at Ilala turned over his body to Britain. Britain wouldn’t know until later, upon finding a note, that Chief Chitambo’s people had kept his heart. His heart is buried under a 'mupundu' tree - now the site of the Livingstone Memorial- but his other remains are buried at Westminster Abbey, in London. (source)
Btw: If you are visiting London and looking for a more 'history-immersive' experience but still want it to be active, be sure to check out the tours provided by Love London Running Tours! In this photo is Jeanne, to whom I also had the pleasure of showcasing Porto - while running, of course!
Carol's second story:
St.Laurence O'Toole's stolen heart!
Regarding St. Laurence O'Toole: he was appointed Archbishop of Dublin in 1162 and died in Normandy (France) in 1180, where his body was buried. The heart was later sent back to Dublin and it was on display at the catholic Christ Church Cathedral. It was stolen several years ago and found buried in a park less than 2 years ago. You can find the news piece published by BBC about the odd finding, here :
While visiting Dublin, a running tour may be a great idea when you need to decide on what to do and what to see in detail in the next couple of days - pay a visit to the website of sightjoggingdublin.com and book a running or a -ever more relaxed- walking tour!
MORE CITIES, MANY HEARTS &
OTHER EXCITING RUNNING TOURS!
MONTRÉAL: COULEURS MONTREAL
PARIS: PARIS RUNNING TOURS
WARSAW: WARSAW RUNNING TOURS
Hearing an interesting new story from your running partner is like a double fix of the natural 'pleasure hormones': the dopamine from learning new things >plus> the endorphins resulting from the exercise. And, in my opinion, that's what a running tour is all about - that 'feel good' sensation from running and learning new stuff - also for the guide, every now and then! :) :)
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Sérgio is the founder of Porto Running Tours, a keen runner since 1999 and a friendly running tour guide-storyteller since 2015.
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