The Sao Jorge Castelo (Saint George Castle) overlooks Lisbon and has done so for ages as its fortifications were built by the Moors in the 1050s. After the Portuguese reclaimed it in 1147 and Lisbon became the nation's capital in 1255 it became the royal residence. Not much of those glory days remain, but visiting the castle is the number one tourist attraction in Lisbon.
Getting to the castle involves either taking a taxi or trolley to the summit or walking. We walked to get a sense of the Alfama district. Along the way (especially near the top) were a number of souvenir shops and galleries so popping in to the odd one (or two or three) made the hike that much more enjoyable. Just outside the castle itself there were artists selling their paintings and other artisans selling jewellery and the ever present sunglass hawker.
Once we passed under the arch there were more offerings inside, but my attention was focused on the religious adornment on the righthand wall.
There was a cue to get into the castle proper (paid admission) and we feared it might be a bit crowded, but once on the spacious grounds we felt as if we had the place to ourselves.
The walls offer spectacular views of Lisbon, and the space also seemed perfect for a picnic lunch or a place to catch a cool breeze on a sunny summer afternoon.
There were little tables-for-two built right into the stone wall with additional wooden benches situated here and there all around the base of the castle. Nearby the table area a seller offered small bottles of wine for two (plastic wine glasses included) should one feel inclined to sit a spell and take advantage of the spectacular view.
We chose not to indulge (I know, shocking, yet true), but just having the option was a treat. The next few photos show how the city has been built up close to the castle walls. (The red gazebo sells ice cream during the summer season.)
Looking over the wall we spotted this immaculate private garden. Talk about a million dollar view.
Moving inside the castle walls gave a clearer perspective of the size of the fortification.
Of course castles usually involve walkways along the upper levels of the walls and so up we went.
For some reason I tend to forget about my dislike of heights until after I've climbed to the top. The views, however, are truly worth the effort (shaking knees and all).
The highest point of the castle can be seen in this next photo (upper right corner).
We continued moving along the ramparts, taking a gazillion photos each step of the way.
The round tower (above) had four arched windows and each offered views of the city that were photo worthy.
Back down on the ground level we crossed this bridge to a more historic section of the castle grounds.
This archeological site is an ongoing project and dates back to 7-8 B.C.
There is a display of artifacts in white building below.
Most of the photos used in the blog are mine, but sometimes John gets into the act as well and while at the castle he asked me to "turn around". So, here I am posing on the barbican.
And a little later here's me posing in the gardens. You may notice from my expression I was not quite as enthusiastic by this point in time. Enough already!
Included with the price of admission is this pottery museum in a very cavern like setting.
We spent approximately four leisurely hours touring the castle and highly recommend it should you find yourself in Lisbon. Apreciar! (Enjoy!)
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