GUIMARAES – Portugal

A UNESCO World Heritage Site – we’re so glad we made the effort to visit out-of-the-way Guimaraes. With its 1,000 year old castle, where the first king of Portugal, Afonso, was born in 1110; and the Ducal Palace, 1420, which became the presidential residence for Salazar, Portugal’s dictator between 1932 & 1974; the city has plenty to be in awe of.

Ducal Palace

The Ducal Palace was our favourite, with its crenellated towers and cylindrical brick chimneys, thick walls of granite, exposed wooden ceilings which looked like upside down boat hulls, and the massive fireplaces. Displays were minimal but massive: tapestries hung wall to wall, heavy wooden furniture, intricate silk rugs, and surprisingly small beds.

Church in centre of the city
Historic centre

And to top it all, there’s a cable car to the top of the mountain at Penha, where rocks the size of houses perch precariously on one another. The church overlooking the city, seems to protect it from the rocks that could dismantle it.

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