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Images of the UNESCO site and historic town of Guimaraes, Portugal

Published in: Travel


  1. 1. GUIMARÃES World Heritage Site - UNeSCo. tHe toWN of a tHoUSaNd WiNdoWS
  2. 2. The northern town of Guimarães is one of Portugal’s oldest urban settlements and one of the country’s best preserved. Its medieval centre and historic buildings have been listed by UNESCO as World Heritage in 2001. The first King of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, chose this former Roman city to be the administrative capital of the kingdom after his victory at the Battle of São Mamede, in 1128.. That’s why Guimarães is known as the birthplace of the nation.
  3. 3. Guimaráes shows the evolution of the Portuguese building techniques from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The historic centre is a maze of alleys around Toural Square and Largo da Oliveira, the medieval town square. Other references are the Castle, the Ducal Palace and the Museum. Santa Maria is the main street in the pedestrian old centre.
  4. 4. The Town Hall is at present located in the baroque building of the old Santa Clara Convent. (16th century).
  5. 5. The neo-classical two-storey cloister
  6. 6. Praça do Toural Toural Square
  7. 7. This is the civic square, the most busy meeting point for after work and celebration days. The Toural Square has been renovated for the 2012 Cultural Capital event.
  8. 8. The rich variety of windows glowing in the late hours of sunlight is a local must see.
  9. 9. A nearby back street, passing under first floor corridors, leads to the next square.
  10. 10. Largo Condessa do Juncal
  11. 11. This is a pretty and quiet place, where trees and azulejo ( blue tiles) façades compose a quaint but colourful atmosphere.
  12. 12. In this square, most of the houses were built in the 18th and 19th, centuries. Iron balconies and tile -covered façades are a sign of the Romantic period.
  13. 13. Now we enter the pedestrian old town.
  14. 14. Largo da Oliveira Olive Tree square
  15. 15. The old Town Hall (City Council Palace), from the14th century.
  16. 16. The outdoor terrace of the Hotel da Oliveira is ideal to sit and relax, in sunny as well as in rainy days.
  17. 17. A lonesome olive tree still decorates the square, facing the gothic Salado Memorial.
  18. 18. On the south side, a stone gallery in the style of northwestern Iberia.
  19. 19. The Salado Memorial
  20. 20. This gothic porch was built in 1342 to celebrate the battle of Salado won by a coalition of Portuguese and Spanish armies against the occupying Muslims.
  21. 21. The Romanic Church and Abbey Nossa Senhora da Oliveira (Our Lady of the Olive Tree). The Legend: An olive tree. planted in front of the church to supply olive oil for the altar lamps, withered and died. Later on, a local tradesman placed a cross on the site and the tree miraculously sprung to life !
  22. 22. A detail of the false porch over the front doorway
  23. 23. The Monastery’s romanesque cloister.
  24. 24. One of the small statues in the cloister’s garden.
  25. 25. Walking down a narrow alley, the Museum comes next.
  26. 26. The National Museum Alberto Sampaio displays religious art and silverware as well as traditional handicraft and pannels of Portuguese azulejos. It’s housed in buildings which were part of the Priory..
  27. 27. A pannel of blue and yellow painted azulejos from the 17th century.
  28. 28. The old quarter It’s a maze of winding streets and alleys around Largo da Oliveira, flanked by three- or four-stored half timbered houses, some with colorful balconies, and now and then larger baroque buildings.
  29. 29. The narrow and shady Egas Moniz street, former Rua Nova (New Street), has been renovated under an European funded project.
  30. 30. This house in Rua Nova, from the 17th century, has won a prize for its careful restoration.
  31. 31. Rua Gravador Molarinho
  32. 32. A pleasant green corner behind an iron gate.
  33. 33. Praça de S. Tiago Saint Jacob Square
  34. 34. This picturesque piazza, filled with cafés, bars and restaurants, is just behind the Olive Tree Square.
  35. 35. This is the medieval heart of Guimarães.
  36. 36. Several balconies, mainly on the second or third floor, are richly sculpted in wood or in iron.
  37. 37. Santa Maria street
  38. 38. This was the main street in medieval times, linking the Castle (uphill) down to the Santa Maria Monastery.
  39. 39. Casa do Arco (Arched House) is one more distinctive postcard.
  40. 40. One of the charming small shops in the historic area that are a joy to discover.
  41. 41. Largo dos Laranjais, Orange Grove square
  42. 42. A hidden small square, romantic and perfumed.
  43. 43. Zona de Couros South Downtown
  44. 44. South of the Toural and the historic centre, a residential area of narrow and steep alleys, leading down to the river Couros valley, displays a variety of renovated façades, some covered with azulejo tiles.
  45. 45. It’s a most intimate and secret part of Guimarães.
  46. 46. The Youth Hostel is installed in this excellent building on the lowest part of Guimarães, by the Couros river.
  47. 47. Martins Sarmento Museum
  48. 48. This Museum is a private foundation and was created after careful excavations in archeologic sites of the celtic era, some miles North of Guimarães. It is also housed in parts of a previous St. Dominic Convent from the 14th century.
  49. 49. The remaining gothic cloister of the St. Dominic convent is a magic place, one of the best hidden secrets of Guimarães.
  50. 50. The cloister’s columns have richly decorated capitals, figuring fauna, flora and humans. There are no two alike.
  51. 51. Two warriors of the pre-national celtic tribes that occupied the northwest of the Peninsula.
  52. 52. A bronze Phalera from an archeological site nearby. Ribbed blue bowl, from a site in southern Portugal
  53. 53. Golden bracelet, from 3 BC to 3 AD.
  54. 54. Maybe the most spectacular object in the Museum – this celtic toy, a bronze car representing a sacrifice rite and dedicated to a war deity, dates from around 500-300 BC.
  55. 55. Vila Flor Palace and Cultural Centre
  56. 56. This is the main venue for music concerts and theater, and was a prized work of modern architecture living together with a 18th century Palace.
  57. 57. The annual Jazz festival is an international event well known in the Jazz scene. The town gets a livelier place in November.
  58. 58. Here, Maria Schneyder and her orchestra.
  59. 59. The Vila Flor Café is a special space for a cup of coffee, talking, reading and maybe a surprise jazz session.
  60. 60. The Castle
  61. 61. The impressive square keep of the Guimarães castle dominates the skyline for miles around.
  62. 62. This castle was built in the 10th century to protect the town against invaders and was expanded in the 12th century as an arsenal and palace. The first King of Portugal may have been born here, but anyway the castle is linked to the Foundation of Portugal.
  63. 63. The Ducal Palace Paço dos Duques de Bragança
  64. 64. Medieval, 1420-1422. Built by the first Duke of Bragança, this manor house contains Renaissance furniture, Flemish tapestries and Persian carpets.
  65. 65. Quite unusual cloister.
  66. 66. The duchess’ sleeping room.
  67. 67. Santa Marinha da Costa Monastery (now a Pousada hotel)
  68. 68. It’s origin is as old as the 9th century, but the Monastery’s present buildings date back from the 11th to the 18th cent., undergoing several renovation and enlarging works. The church is clearly in late baroque style, some parts are neo-classical.
  69. 69. The church nave, rich in gilded woodcarvings.
  70. 70. The Choir stalls.
  71. 71. The font, in a polychrome tile decorated niche.
  72. 72. The light of late autumn sunset creates a special atmosphere inside the Pousada.
  73. 73. A stairway connecting to the gardens, richly decorated with azulejo pannels.
  74. 74. At the top of the monastery building, the porched Balcony of Saint Jerome was a 17th century addition.
  75. 75. Cerca da Costa Gardens
  76. 76. The Monastery’s Gardens are just one more little secret few people know about. And free to visit !
  77. 77. Back to the start: What a brilliant folly, a fountain in the centre of a balcony porch ! Unbelievable.
  78. 78. Pastelaria Clarinha, for local gourmet pastries from the monastic traditions !
  79. 79. Hotel da Oliveira, right in the historic centre.
  80. 80. The new Boutique Hotel, at Largo do Toural, facing a thousand windows.
  81. 81. Guimarães by night
  82. 82. Selection of texts and photos © Mário Ricca, 2015 Search for more: