Forte de São Francisco Xavier
Castle in Porto
The São Francisco Xavier Fort, also known as the Cheese Castle, is located in the parish of Nevogilde in the municipality and district of Porto, Portugal. It sits in a commanding position over the Atlantic Ocean and is close to the mouth of the Douro River. The fort was built in the mid-17th century during the War of Restoration of Portuguese independence, using the design of French military engineer Miguel de l’Ècole and directed by Fernando César de Carvalhais Negreiros. Its exact construction date is uncertain, but it is believed to have been built around 1661 or 1662 as a small maritime fortification to protect the coast from the Galician fleet.
In the beginning of the 18th century, the City Council of Porto requested its deactivation, arguing that it was unnecessary and costly. However, this request was rejected in 1720 by the sovereign’s Council of War. During the Liberal Wars, the fort was occupied by conservative forces during the siege of Porto and was later abandoned. It was later occupied by the Companhia de Veterans, the Fiscal Guard and later on it was classified as a Property of Public Interest and transferred to the Nucleus of the Naval Brigade of the Legião Portuguesa do Porto. Currently, it is restored and open to the public under the care of the Association of Commands (Northern Delegation), which maintains a historical-military museum and hosts cultural and entertainment events.
Visiting Forte de São Francisco Xavier