The Saint George Castle

The Saint George Castle

Saint George Castle or São Jorge is the most visited sight in Lisbon, located at the top of the São Jorge hill, which, at the same time, is the highest hill in the city. The castle stands out, both during the day and at night when it is lit. The building is characteristic because of its long history, but also very attractive because of its location. Below it are two city districts, the medieval Alfama and Castelo.

The fortress was built by the Visigoths during the fifth century, and the Moors expanded it in 11th century. The fortress changed its appearance, so during the reign of Alfonso I of Portugal, the fortress got a new look and seal of the Royal Palace. The final restoration was done in 1938. From the 13th to the 16th century, the castle was occupied by Portuguese kings, and at that time the castle gained special significance.

The castle consists of 11 towers, a small museum, a bar and a restaurant. It is believed that the first fortifications on this hill were built in the first century BC. The hill served as a fortress for the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and Moors before the Portuguese managed to conquer Lisbon in 1147, when the castle was captured by King Afonso Henriques and made Lisbon the capital of the then Kingdom. The castle takes over the title of the royal palace, and the next two centuries were the golden age of the castle.

The reception of Vasco da Gama in 1503 by the King of Portugal after a successful trip to India via the Cape of Good Hope was one of the most significant events in the castle. Over time the kings aspired to greater luxury so they moved to more comfortable and convenient residences such as Ribeira. After that, the castle served as barracks, then as a prison, and today it is a national monument and museum of great importance for the cultural heritage of Portugal.

Of the 11 towers that exist today, the most significant are Torre de Menagem (Tower of Towers), Torre do Haver ou do Tombo (Tower of Wealth or Trumpet Tower), Torre do Paco (Tower of the Palace), Torre da Cisterna (Tower of Cisterns) and Torre de Sao Lawrence (Tower of St. Lawrence) located down the hill. In one yard, there are ruins and the famous "The Betrayal Gate", which in history served as an entrance and exit for secret officials.

Based on some archaeological research and excavations, it is believed that the humans were present in the Tagusa Valley in the VIII century BC. During the 14th century, during the reign of King John I, the castle was dedicated to St. George, as a warrior saint. King John I married the English Princess Philippa of Lancaster, and St. George was the patron saint of England.

At the top of the fortress there is a magical view of the east of Lisbon and that is exactly one of the reasons why many visitors choose the castle as the first tourist attraction to visit in Lisbon.

Tickte price for the castle of Saint George
Regular ticket price 10 euros
Reduced ticket price 8.5 euros - for older then 65 years
Reduced ticket price 5 euros - for students
FREE ENTRANCE for childred under 12 years

Working hours of the castle of Saint George
from March till October from 09:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
From November till February  from 09:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Author of the text:

Maja Glavaš, Bachelor with Honours in Communicology. Works in Tourism.
Contact: [email protected]; instagram: travel_europe1

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