Although St. George's Castle was constructed by the Moors, the site had previously been fortified by Romans and Visigoths. To your left as you pass through the main entrance is a statue of Dom Afonso Henriques, whose forces in 1147 besieged the castle and drove the Moors from Lisbon. The ramparts offer panoramic views of the city's layout as far as the towering Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge; be careful of the uneven footing. Remnants of a palace that was a residence
of the kings of Portugal until the 16th century house a snack bar, a small museum showcasing archeological finds, and beyond them a cozy, stately restaurant, the Casa do Leão (21/888–0154). From the periscópio (periscope) in the Torre de Ulísses, in the castle's keep, you can spy on visitors going about their business below. Beyond the keep, traces of pre-Roman and Moorish houses are visible thanks to recent archeological digs, as well as the remains of a palace founded in the 15th-century. The castle's outer walls encompass a small neighborhood, Castelo, the medieval church of Santa Cruz, restaurants, and souvenir shops.
Entrance at Largo do Chão da Feira, Lisbon, 1100-129, Portugal
May 24, 2005
For really great views of Lisbon, visit the Castle of St. George. For an even greater adventure, take a city bus through the narrow streets of the Alfama to the castle. Take time to climb the various walls and steps of the castle to feel like a castle guard and to travel back in time.