5 fun facts about the São Jorge Castle in Lisbon
The São Jorge Castle is one of the greatest landmarks of Lisbon. If you’re visiting the city, you absolutely need to visit this splendid monument! In today’s article, I want to share with you 5 fun facts about the São Jorge Castle in Lisbon, as an introduction to it.
While in the city of Lisbon, there are certain landmarks you cannot afford to miss. The São Jorge Castle is definitely one of them! You will get to learn a lot about the history of both the city of Lisbon and Portugal. Plus, you will also love the view from up there!
It is one of the most visited castles of the country. It is quite impossible to talk about the history of Lisbon and Portugal without mentioning the São Jorge Castle.
It were the Muslims that started building the fortification, which was the last major defence stronghold for the elites of the time. In 1147, with the conquest of Lisbon by the first King of Portugal, its golden age began and the castle had to be extended to host all the members of the Court. During the twelth century, it was turned into a Royal Palace by the Portuguese kings, where many importants figures were invited and parties were organized.
From 1580, the Iberian Union started, which was the dynastic union of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Spanish Crown, and the castle gained more of a military function.
Between 1938 and 1940, the São Jorge Castle went through refurbishment works, and remains of ancient times and of the ancient Royal palace were found, which allowed the castle to gain back its importance. The new findings led to the opening of the monument to the public.
Since it was built on the highest hill of Lisbon, the São Jorge Castle can be spotted from many different parts of the city! So you can be sure you won’t miss it! If you’re interested in finding out more about the castle, read on and discover 5 fun facts about the São Jorge Castle in Lisbon and get to know its history a little more in detail!
Fun fact nº1: Several people lived in the area
Archaelogical researches proved that the area was not randomly chosen by the Moors, the Arab peoples from North Africa that conquered a great part of Southern Europe during the Middle Ages. It turns out that this area of Lisbon was once inhabited by Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians from the seventh century before Christ. Romans also built a defensive structure uphill.
Fun fact nº2: This medieval castle is just eighty years old
In 1755, when the Lisbon great earthquake happened, many areas and buildings were destroyed, so the São Jorge Castle was very damaged from the natural disaster. Later, new constructions were erected over the ruins.
During the twentieth century, the castle was a military area poorly preserved. Luckily, in 1910, the São Jorge Castle was classified as a National Monument and, from 1938, great restoration works took place. During this period, remains of the ancient Moors castle and the Royal palace were discovered.
The motives of this in-depth restructuring of the castle were ideological. Portugal was under a dictatorship and the interest of the governors was to exalt the pride of Portugal and to commemorate the eight centuries of the foundation of Portugal!
Fun fact nº3: The entrance is free for the residents of Lisbon
If you’re curious about the entrance prices, don’t worry! I will tell you all the different prices that are applied.
The regular ticket cost for adults is ten euros. People that are aged between 13 to 25 years old only pay five euros. The ticket for eople that are older than 65 years old and disabled people costs 8.50 euros.
Then, the entrance is free for children under the age of twelve years old, the person accompanying a person with disabilities and for people that live in Lisbon – however, a proof of residency needs to be presented! The entrance to the São Jorge Castle is also free for people that live in the national territory, but only on Sundays and holidays between 9 am to 2 pm.
It is also free for people that possess an APAC, APOM, ICOM or ICOMOS card.
Fun fact nº4: You can enjoy one of the greatest views over Lisbon
The São Jorge Castle is one of the most famous monuments of Lisbon. It glows by day as it does by night.
Located in the highest hill of Lisbon in the same area of the Alfama neighborhood, the Castelo São Jorge offers an inspiring and invigorating view over the city. This amazing landmark allows the visitor to time travel thanks to all its stones that tell us the history of Lisbon.
Apart from learning a great deal about the history of the country and the city, you will thoroughly enjoy the panoramic view over the city! It is a great place for taking pictures, or to simply enjoy the moment and cherish the people you’re with.
Fun fact nº5: Organizing an event in one of the areas of the castle is possible
The São Jorge Castle offers unique architectural spaces, that greatly benefit from its locations and a top quality urban and landscape environment. You can actually organize many activities other than the usual customary visits of the castle as long as these activities are compatible with the castle’s historic and heritage values.
The unique and enjoyable environments provided, by the São Jorge Castle thanks to its history, are perfect for the realisation of cultural initiatives, concerts, exhibitions, seminars, business meetings, theatre performances, feasts, receptions, promotional and awareness-raising events or even shootings of films.
Moreover, all these events can include a guided tour of the São Jorge Castle, which is great if you wish to impress your guests!
For instance, the Castelejo is perfect for special occasions. It provides a more intimate environment, surrounded by imposing walls and impressive towers that date back from the eleventh century. The Jardim Romântico, which is an history-filled cozy nook close to the river, will be amazing for small open air events. If you want to organize an open air event and to enjoy a panoramic view over the city at the same time, you will love the Praça d’Armas. For cocktail receptions or dinners, the Sala Ogival will be the best option!
My article is over, I’ve now shared with you 5 fun facts about the São Jorge Castle in Lisbon! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it, that it was inspiring to you and that I have awaken your interest! If you need further information about anything, don’t hesitate to contact us! Also, if you want to walk the city in the company of a local guide, feel free to join our Alfama walking tour that starts every day at 11 am and at 4 pm, right at the entrance door of the castle! I definitely think that it is one of the best ways to discover the city and all its greatest places! See you soon in Lisbon!