Late in the 19th century, Porto's municipal council decided to build a stock exchange so ornate that it would earn the instant credibility of investors throughout Europe. The result is this echoing testimonial to the economic power and savvy of north Portugal during the late Industrial Revolution. The podiums, desks, benches, and lecterns were removed long ago; the place functions today purely as a municipal showplace, without stock-trading activities of any kind. Instead you'll be ushered through something that might remind you of an abandoned royal palace, complete with massive staircases, a library, a "president's room," a domed "hall of nations" (site of stock trading activities of yesteryear), an intricately paneled General Assembly room, and a "portraits room" in the Louis XVI style, wherein six full-length portraits of the last six Portuguese monarchs are on permanent display. The architectural highlight is the Arabian Hall, a pastiche of the Alhambra in Granada. Oval in shape, it is adorned with arabesques, carved woodwork, and stained-glass windows, all evocative of the Moors of long ago. The garden in back is especially lovely.