Tuesday 21 June 2022

The castle - Lisbon

The Castelo de Sao Jorge is perhaps the most spectacular building in Lisbon, as much because of its position as anything else. It was once the heart of a walled city that spread downhill as far as the river.

The original Moorish castle on this site was besieged in 1147 by a particularly ruthless gang of Crusaders who, together with King Alfonso I of Portugal, conquered Lisbon after some 400 years of Moorish rule. Badly damaged during the siege, its fortifications were rebuilt. From the 14th century, Portuguese kings took up residence in the old Moorish palace, or Alcacova, within the walls, but by the early 16th century they had moved to the new royal palace on  Praca de Commercio . Subsequently, the castle was used as a prison and then as an army barracks until the 1920s. The walls were partly renovated by the dictator Salazar in the 1930s and further restored for Expo '98. 

A series of gardens, walkways and viewpoints hidden within the old Moorish walls makes this an enjoyabe place in which to wander about for a couple of hours, with spectacular views over the city from its ramparts and towers.

We paid and entered the castle grounds

and soon arrived at this large square

the internal castle wall on one side

a statue in the middle

cannons by the parapet

and then, spectacular views of the city at our feet

The Ponte 25 de Abril bridge that crosses the river Tagus to connect Lisbon to the municipality of Almada. It has a motorway for cars on the top part and a train track on the bottom part which was added in 1999.

Cristo Rei which stands on the heights above Almada

Placa do Comercio

zooming into this nice garden

We moved on under this avenue of trees

back to the views, and this is the Baixa area, where we were staying, and Elevador de Santa Justa and next to it the ruins of Covento do Carmo


It was interesting to see that the pine trees have the same bands as in Greece, which prevent disease-spreading bacteria climbing up to the leaves

We walked through these arches

past the castle shop

onto a tranquil garden

the inner castle walls looming over us

but just before going into the castle

we saw the first peacock

proudly posing for photographs

Over the bridge

and we were in.

I sat on a bench 

while Ken decided to walk around the ramparts

here he is waving.

We then moved on to the castle museum and admired the brick vaulted ceiling

Right outside the museum a peacock sat on the wall

while another one was perched on a tree. Throughout our visit we could hear the haunting cries of the peacocks regardless of where we were.

For a while I followed this mother and her two young

Another one sitting on a tree branch.

We left the castle after a while and walked around the Santa Cruz area.

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