“The castle of Guimaraes”
Guimaraes, Portugal. May 2019. (12 photos)
One of the day trips I made from Porto was to the town of Guimaraes, an easy trip northwards by train. I happened to mention this town to the lady at the front desk at my hotel, only to receive blank looks. After further explanations, she realised what I was talking about and gave me a smile. It seems many words in Portuguese sound nothing like the way they are spelt, and Guimaraes is one of them. Fortunately, having been taught how to say Guimaraes correctly, I was able to buy my train ticket at the station without any problem.
So, in a few photos, let me show you some of what I saw during a visit to Guimaraes.
Above, is the ancient castle of Guimaraes (Castelo de Guimarães), a medieval castle originally built in the 10th century to defend against from attacks by the Moors and Norsemen. The small castle stands at the top of Largo Hill.
“Inside the castle”
The castle is in partial ruin. In distinct contrast to my visit to Obidos, the weather was perfect. Also in contrast to the Walls of Obidos, the ramparts were wide with safety rails. Where’s the thrill and challenge in that?
“King of the castle”
Guimaraes was first settled in the 9th century and has a significant historical importance due to the role it played in the foundation of Portugal. The city is often referred to as the “birthplace of the Portuguese nationality” or “the cradle city” because it is widely believed that Portugal’s first King, Afonso Henriques (statue in above photo), was born there, and also due to the fact that the Battle of São Mamede – which is considered the seminal event for the foundation of the Kingdom of Portugal – was fought in the vicinity of the city.
“Palace of the Dukes of Braganza”
Visible from the ramparts of the castle is the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza (Paço dos Duques de Braganza), a medieval estate, and now National Monument, built in the early 15th century.
“I’ve come to see your tapestries”
Amongst a vast collection from the 16th and 17th centuries, the Palace houses the tapestries of Pastrana, which narrate some of the events of Portuguese conquests in North Africa, attributed to Nuno Gonçalves.
“On the streets of Guimaraes”
Guimarães is a city and municipality located in northern Portugal. Its historic town centre is listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001, in recognition for being an “exceptionally well-preserved and authentic example of the evolution of a medieval settlement into a modern town” in Europe. Here are a few other sights from my visit to Guimaraes…
“Largo de Sao Tiago”
Forming a very old part of the city, this square is surrounded by beautiful houses with typically northern features, simple three-storey 16th and 17th-century constructions. Tradition has it that St. James the Apostle brought an image of the Virgin Mary to Guimaraes, which he placed in a pagan temple that stood on this site, so that thereafter the place became known as the square of St. James (São Tiago).
Seeing the woman on the left hanging her laundry to dry reminded me that despite all the history of places such as these, people have to go on with their usual activities, even if it is hanging out your laundry where everybody can see it.
“Jardim do Carmo”
Azulejos outside Capela a Virgem Maria, Senhora Nossa (Chapel of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady)
“Facades of Guimaraes”
“Along the avenue”
The Largo República do Brasil leading to the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Consolação e Santos Passos. Another church in Portugal, covered with azulejos on its exterior.
This is Part 9 of this photographic series and Part 5 of the posts about Portugal.