17/07/2017

7 castles and monasteries of Portugal that you should know

castillos y monasterios de portugal

A route that was born at the same time as its country

You are about to discover 7 castles and monasteries of Portugal that do not leave anyone indifferent.

The fact of being one of the oldest states in Europe, dating back to the twelfth century, makes Portugal a place of pilgrimage for all travelers with curiosity to know the origins of the old continent. If one thing characterises the neighbor country it is the profusion of its nature that presides over much of its landscapes and the architectural traces of a past that still conserves much of the original testimonies. The route of the castles and monasteries of Portugal is one of the most valued, not in vain it is composed of monuments that were founded almost at the same time as the State itself.

Monastery of Santa María da Vitoria, in Batalha.This monastery was erected in commemoration of the victory of the Portuguese over Castilians in the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385. Its construction was the main architectural project of the Portuguese kings for centuries and gave way to a national Gothic style, characterized by its influences of Manueline art.

Royal Abbey of Santa María, in Alcobaça.This city, located in the valley of the rivers Alco and Basa, houses the Monastery of Santa Maria, a monument founded in 1153 by the Order of Cîteaux that was positioned as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989. Its strong point is that it is the first Gothic work built on Portuguese soil.

Monastery of Santa Clara a Velha and the medieval district of Coimbra.The monastery of the former capital of Portugal dates from the late 13th century, when it was founded by the noble Mor Dias with the aim of hosting a community of Clarisses nuns. Apart from this monument, the medieval quarter of Coimbra is a kind of open air museum that has buildings as emblematic as the Old Cathedral or the Arch of the Almedina. It is an inescapable place in any route of medieval dyes.

Castle of San Jorge, in Lisboa. This castle is one of the most emblematic monuments of the Portuguese capital. Completely remodeled in the year 1938, it dates back to the 5th century when it was built by the Visigoths. The Arabs were in charge of its extension four centuries later and it was not modified again until the reign of Alfonso Enríquez, during Century XII. Unlike many other European castles, this one never served a residential function, it was limited to the safeguarding of military garrison.

Castle of the Christ, in Tomar. This castle witnessed the moment when the monarch Philip II took possession of the Kingdom of Portugal. The great historical value of its walls, along with the impressive Gothic and Renaissance style of its architecture, led it to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983. This monumental complex, which was the nerve center of the Order of the Temple for years and later that of the Knights of Christ, has its origin in the twelfth century, when it was created to protect what was then capital of the Kingdom of Portugal, Coimbra.

Castle of Almourol.The one that is one of the most emblematic monuments of the Christian Reconquest is located in a small island located in the middle of Tajo river and, before its remodeling by the Templars in century XII, already existed under in the name of Almorolan, although Its exact origins are unknown. After the extinction of the order of the Templars, the castle was not modified until the nineteenth century, an era from which it looks like the one it currently has. During the Portuguese Republic of the 20th century, this monument served as an official residence.

Castle of Marvão, in Alentejo.Located at a height of 850 meters above the Serra de São Mamede, in the district of Portalegre and a few kilometers from the border with Spain, this castle was for years a fundamental defense in conflicts like the Restoration War (1640-1668), the war of Spanish Succession (1701-1715), or the Fantastic War (1762-1763). Its style fuses the styles of different times, due to the numerous remodelings that have been practiced over the years.