Guimarães City Portugal

Today we would be visiting Guimaraes Portugal.  Before we left Australia we were given a choice of two places to visit.  One was Guimaraes Portugal or Quinta da Aveledao. Muriel and I decided on Guimaraes City.

We woke up to a wet and very cold day.  My biggest worry was those cobble stones, they can be very slippery.  Needn’t have worried, the coblestones in Portugal are very rough not shiny and slippery like in France.

Our coach stopped near the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza.  What an impressive place this was.

The Palace of the Dukes of Braganza was constructed on the orders of Afonso de Barcelos, an illegitimate son of King João I, in the early 15th century from about 1420.


Palace Courtyard of the Dukes of Braganza

The design was based on French Manor Houses.  Between the 16th and 19th centuries the palace fell into ruin and many of the buildings were taken away to be used for other purposes.  A reconstruction was completed between the years of 1937 and 1959 which conferred a grandeur on the property which it probably never possessed. Indeed, it is believed the original building was not complete when the Duke decamped to Vila Viçosa.
The architect was Rogerio de Acevedo.  

After the renovation it became the official residence of the President of the Republic.

The interior contains collections of furniture, carpets and copies of the Pastrana tapestries, these depict the Portuguese invasion of North Africa.


Pastrana Tapestry

Some of the furniture on display (writing tables and chests of drawers) was made in Portugal’s colonies in India, China and the Far East  There are also Flemish and French tapestries, ceramics acquired by the Portuguese East India Company in China and various weapons and armour.


Some of the amour on display 



Stunning furniture at the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza




Banquet Hall at the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza – Salao de Banquets



The stunning ceiling in the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza



This is a small bedchamber paying homage to Catherine of Braganza

The above bedchamber pays homage to Catherine of Braganza, even though she never lived in the Palace. Catherine is the daughter of King Joao of 1V, Princess of Portugal and Queen of England.

When Catherine married Charles 11 of England in 1662, she got into the habit of drinking tea, she also added porcelain to English customs, the fork at the table of the court.  The taste for Italian opera.  The creation of the famous English marmalade as well as making fans and tobacco popular. 


After our visit to Palace of the Dukes Braganza we  walked down to the main square along narrow cobblestone streets.  By now the rain was pouring down.  There were rivers of water flowing fast along the streets.  We all huddled under some buildings while our guide Carla explained some interesting facts about Guimaraes.  Did you know that it was settled around the 9th Century and used to be known as Vimaranes. Its historical centre  is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it one of the largest tourist centers in the region.

The city of Guimaraes is often referred to as the birthplace of Portuguese nationality.  This may be due to the fact that it was the birthplace of Afonso I of Portugal, the first Portuguese king.


Carla our guide giving us a talk about the history of Giumaraes.

While we were standing in the rain Muriel looked down and saw something shiny in the cobblestone.  Was it gold?  It got everyone looking and trying to get that shiny bit of something out.  Were we all going to be rich?

Sorry to disappoint everyone,  it turned out to be a bit of shiny paper from a lolly wrapper.

It certainly caused a lot of silly jokes about Muriel and her quest for gold.

Free time to explore the market that was being held under the buildings or to go back to the little laneways and all the amazing stores selling locally made goods.


The market



Cobblestone Laneways



The square in the historic area of Giumaraes.  Not sure that washing was going to dry

We all made our way to the main street to wait for our coach to take us back to the Scenic Azure.

Many towns in Spain and Portugal don’t allow cars or busses into the historic sections due to the small narrow laneways.


Largo Republica do Brasi – public gardens in front of the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Consolacao e Santos Passos Church 

The above photo to the right is where our coach picked us up.  What a stunning garden.


Cafes and restaurants down the main street.



**Our next post will be on our Tour to St John of Tarouca and the fortified bridge of Ucanha.**



23 thoughts on “Guimarães City Portugal

  1. Such an ancient place with some amazing history. I loved the story about what Catherine of Braganza brought with her to England.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂


  2. I always worry about slippery cobblestones too, but we also found them not too bad when in France last year. Despite the rain, it looked to be a good and informative day. Visiting from #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had to laugh at Muriel’s quest for gold, precious. Your tales are fun and you’ve highlighted places we obviously missed. Glad we can go back one day. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like Guimaraes City was a good choice. Shame about the weather though. It’s interesting that the city is referred to as the birthplace of Portuguese nationality, especially as I’ve ignorantly never even heard of it. Better luck with next time, Muriel – it may be the gold you’re hoping for rather than a lolly wrapper! 😆
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

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