Guimaraes Castle (Portugal)
As the first capital of Portugal and birthplace of the first king of the nation, Guimarães is one of the most historic cities in the country, and its medieval streets of the world heritage with well-preserved monuments make it one of the most attractive places to visit in Portugal.
The imposing medieval castle Guimaraes Castle with eight crenellated towers 28m (92ft) high, was built in the 10th century to protect the population from attacks of the Moors and the Normans. It 'was then extended to its current size in the 12th century by Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal, who was baptized in the small Romanesque chapel next to the castle.
In front of the chapel is the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança, built in the 15th century as a medieval palace, with 39 unusual brick chimneys showing a strong influence in Northern Europe. E 'was used recently, a few decades ago, during the dictatorship of Salazar as the official residence for the President. Inside is an impressive banquet hall with a beautiful wooden ceiling, and a large collection of portraits, furniture, carpets, porcelain and mostly dating from the 17th and 18th.
Guimaraes Palace Among the many churches in Guimarães, the most beautiful is San Francisco Church on the south side of the city gardens. Built in 1400 in Gothic style, it was restored in the 18th century, and features a series of magnificent tiles and an elegant Renaissance cloister and fountain.
From the castle, the pretty cobbled Rua de Santa Maria has remained essentially unchanged for centuries, and leads to the heart of the old town, where there are superbly restored historical buildings. One of these buildings is the former Baroque 16th century convent of Santa Maria, now serves as the town hall.
Guimaraes windows At the end of the road are two lovely plazas with outdoor cafes and houses balconies, Praça de Santiago and Largo da Oliveira. A Largo da Oliveira is the old town hall and the church of Nossa Senhora da Oliveira, with a Gothic shrine erected in 1340 standing before it. There are many legends about its origins, but a popular story says that marks the legendary place where Wamba, elected king of the Visigoths, refused his title and drove a stake into the ground and swore that he would not reign until it blossomed, and then sprouted immediately.
In the Romanesque cloister of the church is the Alberto Sampaio Museum, exhibiting some outstanding religious art. The greatest treasures are a tunic worn by João I at the Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385 and a silver altarpiece reportedly taken by the Spanish King defeated.
Martins Sarmento Museum Another collection worth mentioning is that of Martins Sarmento Museum, consists of fascinating artifacts (from jewelry to Lusitanian granite warriors) from the Celtic settlement of Citania de Briteiros.
Citania de Briteiros was inhabited from about 300 BC to 300 AD and its ruins were discovered in 1875. This fascinating archaeological site is open to the public (also easily accessible from Braga), with the foundations of over 150 stone huts, with two of them it is having been restored to show their original appearance. The objects found in the excavations, as fragments of painted pottery, carved stones, weapons and jewelery, are also on display in a museum dedicated to these Iron Age settlements called "castros" in the village of Briteiros, not too far from Guimarães. citania
de Briteiros If you visit, do not miss this museum, as well as the Martins Sarmento Guimarães' Museum.
To experience the medieval Guimarães, visit the city in the first week of August for a medieval festival of art and costume. The three-day celebration dates back to the mid-15th century, and includes a torchlight procession and a medieval parade.
And 'possible to visit the city on a day trip from Porto or Braga, but it is worth staying in one of the two inns in town. The award-winning Pousada Santa Marinha da Costa is the best choice, a set monastery of the 12th century on a hill overlooking the city, with a facade elaborately rococo style.