The massively solid Castelo San Giorgio, perched on one of the highest points adjacent to the Chiado and Praca do Comercio, dates from the 11th Cent. but has passed through many phases, including that of being a Royal Palace ( 13th Cent.), and a military barracks for the then ruling Spanish army ( 17th Cent.). Its walls are massive, wide, and very extensive. Of its eleven towers, four offer accessible viewing platforms. They are integrated into an exciting walk of over 300 meters along the walls that reveals every part of the city, and in its grounds and parks there are other belvederes that extend the viewing opportunities. It was badly affected b y the 1755 earthquake, and partial ruins of earlier constructions are to be seen in the gardens, Its visitors can choose from a large cafe and a fine Michelin-recommended restaurant (Casa Do Leao: operated by the Pousada organization and open from 12.30 to 11pm) where we enjoyed an excellent and affordable lunch. A Camera Obscura following a design by Leonardo da Vinci ( not working because of bad weather during our visit) and a modest Archaeological Museum are other attractions the Castelo offers. There is no finer Castle in all of Europe: its privileged position, and outstanding state of preservation and reconstruction, as well as its superb amenities, are cutely complemented by a large flock of variously-colored peacocks who arrogantly strut around as if they own he place, taking no nonsense from the tourists.
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