High above the roofs of Lisbon’s old town rises the imposing Castelo de São Jorge. The Moors began building the fortress as early as the 11th century, but lost it to Alfonso the Conqueror in 1147. He would go down in history as Alfonso I: Portugal’s first king.
Since then, the Castelo de São Jorge housed the Portuguese kings for centuries. Large parts of the castle complex fell victim to the great earthquake of 1755. It was not until the 20th century that Lisbon remembered its Castelo. In 1910 it was declared a national monument and extensive restoration work followed.
Today, visitors can experience everything they could wish for from a real castle in this place steeped in history. After the ascent, eleven well-preserved towers, castle walls, battlements, steep staircases, cannons, embrasures, a moat and a cistern are waiting to be discovered. All towers are accessible to visitors and the castle walls are completely walkable. The northern castle wall also offers a small but very special door. In earlier times, the “Door of Betrayal” offered the possibility to exchange secret messages unnoticed.
In addition, a camera obscura promises a view of a special kind and in the museum the interested guest learns all kinds of interesting facts about the history of the castle and the town. Archaeological sites bear witness to early settlement, Islamic influence and the way of life at the castle before its destruction in 1755. A permanent exhibition shows how magnificent the royal palace must once have been before the earthquake.
From the observation deck there is a magnificent view over the whole city and the river Tejo, which reaches up to the Ponte 25 de Abril and the statue Cristo Rei. Also the residents of the surrounding districts like to spend their time here in the castle garden under the shady trees. A café and a restaurant invite you to linger after visiting this special place.