São Jorge Castle is in the historic district of Alfama in Lisbon and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Portugal. It is built on a hilltop overlooking the city, and it dates back to the 11th century. It has been a witness to the country’s history and played an important role in the defense of Lisbon.
The castle was built by the Moors during their occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. It was initially used as a fortress to protect the city from invaders. In 1147, the castle was conquered by the Christian armies during the Reconquista, and it became the royal palace of the Portuguese monarchy. Over the years, the castle was renovated and expanded to become a complex of buildings that served as a residence for the kings of Portugal.
Today, the castle is open to the public and visitors can explore its walls, towers, and courtyards. The castle’s architecture is a blend of Moorish, Gothic, and Renaissance styles, reflecting the different periods of its history. The castle’s walls are made of stone and offer stunning views of the city and the Tagus River.
One of the most striking features of the castle is the Torre de Ulisses, also known as the Tower of Ulysses. This tower is named after the Greek hero Ulysses, who is said to have stopped in Lisbon on his way back from the Trojan War. The tower offers panoramic views of the city and is a popular spot for tourists to take photos.
Another highlight of the castle is the Alcáçova, the former royal palace. The palace is a magnificent building with courtyards and gardens. The interior of the palace has been restored and visitors can see the rooms where the kings of Portugal once lived. The palace also houses a museum that showcases the history of Lisbon and the castle.
Visitors can also explore the castle’s archaeological site, which features the ruins of the old Moorish and medieval neighborhoods. The site includes a section of the castle wall that dates back to the 8th century, as well as a cistern and a waterwheel.
The castle is surrounded by gardens, including the beautiful Jardim do Castelo. The garden features a variety of plants and flowers, as well as fountains and sculptures. It is a popular spot for visitors to relax and enjoy the view of the city.
In addition to its historical significance and architectural beauty, the castle also hosts cultural events and activities. Throughout the year, there are concerts, theater performances, and art exhibitions that take place within the castle walls.