“The castle of Guimaraes”

Guimaraes, Portugal. May 2019. (12 photos)

This is Part 5 of my Portugal 2019 photo series, and also Part 9 of my Europe 2019 photo series.

Recently I spent a month visiting France and Portugal, with a short visit to Singapore for good measure.

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”

“Traditional dancers”


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.

In May and June 2019, I visited France, Portugal and Singapore.

This is Part 9 of this photographic series and Part 5 of the posts about Portugal.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

A Visit to Guimaraes


63 thoughts on “A Visit to Guimaraes

    • I must admit, I booked to visit Portugal without knowing too much about what I would find. But the architecture, culture and history, as well as the friendliness of the people were incredible. So much to find and enjoy.

  1. I wonder why it took Unesco until 2001 to claim it as a world heritage site, seeing that place is old as dirt. I like the notion of castles that are over a 1000 years old.
    Btw, there are some places here in the middle east where you can tell, just by looking, they’re from an era long gone. They used to give me this strange feeling every time I looked at them, a sort of curiosity, I guess, about the history of that place.

    • I can only guess it wasn’t nominated earlier. Not sure if nominations are made by the country of origin or a third party.
      I am fascinated by and in awe of the history of places like this. One of the joys of travel.

    • Jo, comments are closed on the post I just looked at on your blog. Anyway, beautiful scenery and you make me want to return to Portugal.
      Guimaraes is a lovely town/city. I wish I had longer to see more of it.

      • It was a capital of European Culture the year we were there. Nice place! Sorry about the comments, Draco. They seem to close automatically after a certain period and I haven’t found a way to change that in my settings. 😕 Thanks for your visit anyway. I’m still in the UK till next week.

        • That was 2012. I restricted myself to the historic centre but wish I had time to see more of the city.
          There are various versions of the editor, but in the dashboard find SETTINGS, then DISCUSSION, then OTHER COMMENT SETTINGS. There should be a tab that says AUTOMATICALLY CLOSE COMMENTS ON ARTICLES OLDER THAN XXX DAYS. Disable it or choose a different number of days as you prefer. I hope that helps.

        • Thanks, hon. I did look for that but I’m still using the old Dashboard and it presents the odd problem. I keep telling myself I’ll stop blogging soon but I know I’d miss it ☺

        • Well, I’m using the old dashboard as well, the same one from when I first started in 2013. I have a shortcut to it saved in my browser so I can jump straight to it. 🙂 Old habits die hard.

  2. Hey again,

    Here’s an update regarding your question. I talked to Support today. To get notifications, YOU need to make some changes. Go to: My profile-notification settings-browser notifications: Get instant notifications for new comments and likes, even when you are not actively using WordPress.com. click ENABLE, then allow/always.

    Check out this link too. Apparently, it’s all about browsers.

  3. I had never heard of Guimaraes which is a surprise given its incredibly rich history. While the Castelo de Guimarães left my mouth agape, it was the cobblestones, colorful facades, and street scenes that harken back to simpler times that make me want to journey there. Magnificent imagery yet again. I know I can always count on you for that.

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