Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Castelo de São Jorge

Following on our category “See it from your room”, which started with the article  Avenida da Liberdade, we are now introducing the Castelo de São Jorge.

Considered as one of the most symbolic Monuments of Lisbon, the Saint George’s Castle witnessed some unique moments of the Portuguese and Lisbon’s History.

The name emerged as a gesture of gratitude as many crusaders dedicated devotion to the martyr St. George. Nowadays, the day of the conquest, October 25th, is commemorated "Army Day" and the Portuguese Army has St. George as patron.

In the context of the Christian conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, the forces of D. Afonso Henriques, attacked this fortress, which surrendered after three months. A legend which arose later states that the knight Martim Moniz, who distinguished himself during the siege. After realizing that one of the castle’s gates was open, he sacrificed his live by sticking his body in the gate’s vain to avoid its closure by the Moors and allowing access and the victory of his companions.

The earthquake of 1755 contributed to the decay and degradation of the monument. Classified as National Monument in 1910 it received significant restoration interventions in the 1940s and late 1990s which helped restoring the monument and recovering its medieval traces.

It is currently one of the most visited monuments in the city of Lisbon. The monument also features gardens and sights, the castelejo, archaeological and museological center and a periscope in Ulisses’ Tower which allows us to admire the city in a 360º perspective.

Another good reason to visit the castle is the restaurant “Casa do Leão”, with a splendid view over Lisbon. It is located where, in the past, the lions brought from Africa were kept. The restaurant is well-known by a sophisticated interpretation of the traditional Portuguese cuisine.

If you’re thinking about the ride to the top, don’t be troubled. There are cable cars, as the famous 28 which will take you up. By walking, the experience is even more spectacular and during the summer the castle is open until 21h, allowing a perspective of Lisbon by night.

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