St. George’s Castle

On top of the highest hill in Lisbon sits St. George’s Castle. The area is called the Alfama. The castle started out as a 5th century Visigothic fort. Then the Moors came and built the castle. In 1147 Dom Afonso Henriques expelled the Moors and the kings or Portugal lived here until the 16th century. A lot of the castle was destroyed during the great earthquake of 1755.

At the main entrance is a statue of King Afonso Henriques and many cannons from the past. The remains of the Alcaçovas Palace, where medieval kings lived, there is a small archaeological museum in three underground chambers. There are 18 towers where one gets very good views of the city below. There are many gardens and promenades within the city walls. The castle was classified as national monument in 1910.

One can take a taxi to the top of the hill, and later take a minibus down. Some might find the rides up and down scary, especially since the vehicles go at fast speeds in such narrow streets. It is moderately difficult to do this trip on foot as it is an uphill walk from downtown Lisbon. However, the effort is well worth it as it provides an opportunity to see the historic Alfama neighborhood.