St George Castle Lisbon was build by the Moors in the 11th century. It sits on one of the seven hills of Lisbon, overlooking the historic centre and Tagus River. Of course, it was one of the top attractions on my list of places to see in Lisbon. I really enjoyed walking around the castle, climbing the stairs, walking on the walls and admire the views. Though it’s not huge and there is not much to see inside but the views from the castle are astonishing!
The castle is located in the centre of city of Lisbon, over an escarpment, while many of its walls extend around the citadel into the civil parishes that surround it to the east and south.
The castle’s footprint is roughly square, and it was originally encircled by a wall, to form a citadel. The castle complex consists of the castle itself (the castelejo), some ancillary buildings (including the ruins of the royal palace), gardens,
and a large terraced square from which an impressive panorama of Lisbon is visible.
The main entrance to the citadel is a 19th-century gate surmounted by the coat-of-arms of Portugal, the name of Queen Maria II, and the date, 1846.
This gate permits access to the main square (Praça d’Armas), which is decorated with old cannons and a bronze statue of Afonso Henriques, the Portuguese monarch who took the castle from the Moors. This statue is a copy of the 19th-century original by the romantic sculptor, António Soares dos Reis, which is located near Guimarães Castle in central Portugal.
The remnants of the royal palace are located near the main square, but all that is left are some walls and a few rebuilt rooms like the Casa Ogival. It now hosts the Olissipónia, a multimedia show about the history of Lisbon.
The medieval castle is located toward the northwest corner of the citadel, at its highest point. Hypothetically, during a siege, if attackers managed to enter the citadel, the castle was the last stronghold, the last place available to take refuge. It is rectangular in shape, and it has a total of ten towers. A wall with a tower and a connecting door, divides the castle courtyard into halves.
A series of stairways allow visitors to reach the walkway atop the wall and the towers, from which magnificent views of Lisbon can be enjoyed. The Tower of Ulysses (where the Torre do Tombo archive used to be) now has a periscope that allow tourists to have a 360-degree view of the city.
Apart from its main walls, the castle is protected, on its southern and eastern sides, by a barbican (barbacã), a low wall that prevented siege engines from approaching the main castle walls. The northern and western sides of the castle, on the other hand, were naturally protected by the steep hillside sloping downward from the castle’s foundations. The castle is also partially encircled by a moat, now dry. The main entrance is fronted by a stone bridge across the moat.
On the west side, there is a long curtain wall extending downhill, ending at a tower (the Torre de Couraça).
This tower served to control the valley below, and it could also be used to escape, in case the castle was taken by enemies. (wiki )
Watch my video St George Castle Lisbon One of the top Attractions
How to get to St George Castle Lisbon:
Castelo de S. Jorge, Rua de Sta Cruz, 1100-129, Lisboa
Public transport: Tram 12, 28
Official site: www.castelodesaojorge.pt
9am – 9pm (March – October)
9am – 6pm (November – February)