Castelo de Guimarães

Castle in Guimarães

Castle Of Guimaraes
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Dudva

The castle at Monte Largo is steeped in legend, poetry, and heroism, evoking the beginning of Portuguese history. In the year 968, Countess Mumadona of Galicia ordered the construction of a castle on this site as a refuge for the population against Viking attacks from the north and Muslim raids from the south. Later, Count Henry, who took over the governorship of Portucalense from his father-in-law Alfonso VI of León, ordered the construction of a larger and more solid structure that became the cornerstone of the defensive structure we see today, complete with a square keep and four towers guarding each of the walls’ corners.

Though not strictly documented, it is believed that the building against the northern wall was the residence of Count Henry and the birthplace of his son Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal. The castle played a significant role in the military history of the kingdom’s foundation, including the battles waged by Afonso Henriques against his cousin Alfonso VII, king of León, in 1127 to free himself from vassalage. The castle also witnessed the great spirit of Egas Moniz, the prince’s tutor, who offered himself as surety for the prince’s oath and later reneged on it when Afonso emerged victorious from the battles.

Over the centuries, Guimarães Castle saw many heroic battles fought to defend the newly-formed kingdom’s integrity and independence from dynastic disputes with Castile. However, with the advent of new forms of artillery, the castle’s days of glory were numbered, and it was eventually abandoned to time and neglect. In the first half of the 20th century, the castle was carefully restored to its former grandeur and beauty.

The Castelo de Guimarães appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Guimarães!

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Visiting Castelo de Guimarães




adult/child €2/free

Address: Castelo de Guimarães, Rua Conde Dom Henrique, Guimaraes, Portugal
Telephone: 253 412 273
Duration: 1 hours

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