St. George’s Castle (Castelo de Sao Jorge)
A pretty European capital, nestled in the heart of 7 hills, small alleys, that go up and down, clothes drying on the windows, magnificent buildings, covered with „azulejos” of all colors, music on every street corner …
Among my favorite places – one of the must-sees in the Portuguese capital: St. George’s Castle (Castelo de Sao Jorge). Built by the Visigoths, in the 5th century, and restored by the Moors, in the 9th century, this imposing fortified castle proudly sits on one of the 7 hills and seems to watch over the city. This space had been used by the Moors, to install a defense fortress, there, and the first king of Portugal, Alfonso I, at the recapture of the city on October 25, 1147, used the ruins to strengthen and establish a castle, in the honor of the victory of Portugal.
Its influence appeared in the 13th century, when, it hosted the residence of the royal family, which, then, moved to present-day „Praça do Comércio”.
From the 16th to the 19th century, the castle had more of a defensive function, initiated by the integration of Portugal into the Kingdom of Spain.
This function has gradually diminished over time. It was, then, used as a prison, then, left in ruins.
Reconstruction work was undertaken, at the beginning of the 20th century, to restore its splendor to this building, recognized throughout the country.
This tumultuous history shows the importance of the role the castle plays in the city. Today, it is a point of meeting and discovery. It, also, enjoys a particular tourist attraction.
You can see it, from any place, where you are, in the center of Lisbon, when you look up: and that’s quite normal, it was built on top of one of the 7 hills. that count the city.
From up there, we have a breathtaking view over the rooftops of Lisbon, over the pretty Praça do Comercio, over the famous 25 April Bridge and the Tagus River, which flows a few meters, further, into the Atlantic Ocean.
Towers, ramparts, battlements: no doubt, we are, indeed, in a fortified castle.
In addition, ruins and fortifications, rather well preserved.
The ideal tour is through the museum core, which, preserves ancient ruins, the gallery, the towers, including the Ulysses tower, the walls, the gardens… The visit is not very long, but, it is rather pleasant!