Castle of Guimaraes, Portugal

Continuing my journey from Bom Jesus do Monte, Braga, I am now at Guimaraes.

Castle of Guimaraes is the place where Portugal was created. Visiting it was like traveling back in time to 10th century! It was a clear day and I got some neat shots against the deep blue sky. Guimarães has the UNESCO world heritage status as it is closely associated with the establishment of Portuguese national identity and the Portuguese language in the 12th century. Though the wall is crumbling at places, much of what remains is impressive. Something so old as this is rare in Portugal!

castle of GuimaraesEntrance to Castle of Guimaraes

History of Castle of Guimarães

The construction went on in phases for several centuries. And behind the walls of the castle family rivalries and bickering took place. The property of Vimaranes (today Guimarães) belonged to Count Hermenegildo Gonçalves. The Count’s widow ordered the construction of the castle. By 4 December 968, a document mentions that the Countess Mumadona Dias referred to the castle as just having been constructed, in order to defend the friars and nuns in the monastery.

At the end of the 10th century, Dias’s eldest son, Gonçalo Mendes, took possession of the lands following her death and continued her wishes to support the monastery. But soon after family squabbles started, with uncles and nephews bidding control over the castle. This was the palace of King Afonso Henriques (1111 – 1185). You can check out a more detailed history in wiki.

ruins of castle of guimaraes

For the Portuguese these castle ruins is an important connection to their past. This represents their birth as a nation. Its significance on this historical basis makes this site so interesting to visit. This (pic below) is the Romanesque Church where according to tradition King Afonso Henriques was baptized. It has served as royal chapel and parochial church.

Romanesque church

Tour of the Castle

Touring this place took hardly half an hour. We walked in though the huge green door of the castle, the area inside was all uneven. Some huge rocks strewn here and there, like in any other ruin. No pathway made for visitors and we were on our own to explore. There were stairs up the old walls. You can do one thing; either climb or take pics. With no supports by the ruined stairs it is important to exercise some caution. Small little place for some adventure, my teen aged kids enjoyed the exploring here. This part of the tour is free of any charge.


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47 Responses

  1. What a lovely place indeed..

  2. eileen says:

    Hello, the church and castle are beautiful. I would love to tour and explore these historical sites. Great post. Have a happy day!

  3. DeniseinVA says:

    An amazing country with so much incredible history and beauty. Thank you for sharing your photos.

  4. Interesting historical reminder.

  5. Wonderful, Great pics.

  6. The castle is huge and majestic. Seems it was a lovely day on your visit, Indrani. Great shots against the azure skies.

  7. Looks like you have explored every church, castle and building in Portugal… 🙂

  8. Jim says:

    Sydney – City and Suburbs

  9. It looks to be a great place.

  10. Bhavani says:

    Awesome!!!! Lovely place!!!

  11. matheikal says:

    A castle with a difference.

  12. dinesh says:

    nice post

  13. Kalpana says:

    I just love that green door 🙂

  14. beautiful castle and so wonderfully preserved!!!


  15. astha says:

    Seems like you’re having a fabulous time Indrani! 🙂

  16. budget jan says:

    Those crenellated walls are magnificent and so large too.

  17. So fine and exemplary! 🙂

  18. Lovely information.. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  19. Arun says:

    Quite a nice place!

  20. I love a castle, and Guimaraes looks like a classic!

  21. Priyanka says:

    Thanks to your posts on Portugal, I’m learning something new everytime I come here. Looking forward for more 🙂

  22. Magnificent castle…great pictures 🙂

  23. Such a charming place and beautiful castle …

  24. Great post with wonderful photos.

  25. I love the lovely photos and information on your blog! Thanks so much for the comments on my blog. Have a great weekend. cheers.

  26. Jyothi D'mello says:

    Impressive Green Door and the Castle is a beauty.

  27. Castle looks enchanting, like straight out of a fairy tale!!

  28. ladyfi says:

    Such a lovely place.

  29. Jeevan says:

    Great fortress and although look alike built with hollow blocks, I am sure it must be pretty strong to stand for centuries and birth reason of Portugal! Fantastic perspective

  30. Your photos of Guimaraes are beautiful! What a stunning site.

  31. I enjoyed my the virtual tour. Thanks for sharing this post.

  32. The true magnitude of the castle is seen in the first picture. Those people look so small! Impressive!

  33. sophie says:

    Thanks for this virtual tour. The castle looks amazing! would love to visit someday! Cheers!

  34. Guimarães looks really intriguing. I am always fascinated by heritage structures, they have so many stories to tell, one has to but listen carefully. No doubt the castle has many a thrilling story to tell, stories of love and treachery and the birth of a nation.

  35. Wow, the birthplace of Portugal and so beautiful. We can’t wait to see the Castle of Guimaraes for ourselves. Thanks for covering it. It’s on our Portugal itinerary for sure.

  36. Iris says:

    It is so lovely! I’d love to go to Portugal, I’ve heard lots of interesting things to do and visit. Moreover, I do love castles, last summer in Scotland I visited several ones and they do inspire and have a particular atmosphere.

  37. The castle looks wonderful. May be it’s because of the Portuguese architecture, I felt that this castle resemebles a few forts of Goa!

  38. The idea of transporting back to the heyday of the 10th century sounds amazing!!

  39. Beautiful castle! I wish I could also take a time to roam around there!

  40. neha says:

    Looks like a beautiful castle. Ancient and robust. I have read some other posts also on your blog related to architectural landmarks in Portugal. And all these seem to be wonderful

  41. It makes for a fascinating read! Castle Guimaraes has a rich history backing it!

  42. Suruchi says:

    This castle in Portugal has really an interesting story. It is so huge, and beautiful. I loved your shot of the castle and will love to explore it some day.

  43. cathy says:

    Free of charge when touring a certain place is all good! Tho, you have to explore on your own which is also a good thing. The castle looks historic. Like the ones on movies and animated films!

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