Castelo de Sao Jorge (Castle of Saint George) , overlooking the city of Lisbon , is a moorish castle and one of the top historical attractions in the capital of Portugal . The strongly-fortified citadel dates from medieval times and is located atop the highest hill in the historic center of the city enjoing a clear view of the river.
Taken from the Moors, who used it as a royal residence until 1147 , Castelo de Sao Jorge covers an area about 6000 square meters. King Alfonso Henriquez was the one who won this castle with the help of the crusaders. After being conquered, it was dedicated to the patron saint of England, Saint George, commemorating the 1371 Anglo-Portuguese pact. It also became the royal palace until the 1755 earthquake destroyed it.
Although the first fortifications on this Lisbon hilltop are known to be no older than the second century BC, archaeological research has shown that humans have occupied the site since the sixth century BC, and possibly earlier. The hill was employed in early times by the Celtic tribes and probably Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians have also left their cultural footprints there. Also Roman, Suebic, Visigothic, and Moorish settlers lived on the ground where the castle now stands.
The Castle of Saint George’s blueprint has a square shape and was originally encircled by a wall, to form a citadel . The castle complex consists of the castle itself , some other buildings (including the ruins of the royal palace), gardens, and a large terraced square from which an impressive panorama of Lisbon is visible. Past the main entrance to the citadel there is a main square , which is decorated with old cannons and a bronze statue of Alfonso Henriques, the Portuguese monarch who took the castle from the Moors.
The former Alcacovas Palace where the kings of the middle ages lived is now a stone building housing a restaurant. 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.
Castelo de Sao Jorge (Castle of Saint George) was once used as a fortress, but nowadays it is home to many families and a and one of the most famous Lisbon attractions for the tourists. One thing visitors should not miss here is the wonderful multimedia exhibit about Lisbon’s history called Olissiponia. Images are projected on a ten-foot wall with narration, giving people an overview of the story behind the famous capital of Portugal. It also contains the simulation of the great earthquake .
If you want to experience the historical Lisbon why not choose to set your feet on the beautiful Castelo de Sao Jorge .