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Guimarães: a historic medieval town

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Guimarães is a historic town of about 50,000 inhabitants located in the north of Portugal, about 50 km from Porto, and a short distance from Braga. It is a historic city known as the birthplace of the Portuguese nation, having been the nation’s first capital and having given birth to the first king of Portugal: Afonso I.

In 2001 Guimarães was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. According to UNESCO, the city is an exceptional example of the evolution of a medieval settlement into a modern city. Its architectural riches testify to the evolution of Portuguese architecture between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries.


The oldest monument in the city is the castle, a typical example of 10th century architecture. Inside you can visit the ancient royal residence.

In the vicinity of the castle are the ancient 12th century Romanesque church of São Miguel do Castelo and the Paço dos Duques de Bragança (Palace of the Dukes of Braganza) a huge palace built in the 15th century by D. Afonso I, Duke of Bragança. In the interior (open to visitors) is a museum with Flemish tapestries and tapestries whose figures describe the Portuguese conquests in North Africa.

The church of Nossa Senhora da Oliveira is undoubtedly the most beautiful church in Guimarães. The church was originally built in the 10th century, and the magnificent cloister remains from this period. Subsequently, it was partly rebuilt between the 15th and 16th centuries. In a building adjacent to the cloister is the Alberto Sampaio Museum, full of sacred objects from the XIV-XVI centuries.

Another interesting museum is the Museu Arqueológico da Sociedade Martins Sarmento, known for its collections of archeology, numismatics and Latin epigraphy.

Among the many religious buildings we can mention the Capelas dos Passos da Paixão de Cristo, the Convent of Santa Clara (now the seat of the municipality (Câmara Municipal) of Guimarães), the Misericórdia church, the church of São Pedro and finally the Convent of São Francisco (15th century).

The civil architecture in the city is also noteworthy. In addition to the aforementioned Paço dos Duques de Bragança, there are also beautiful old houses and buildings in the central part of the town, the one that goes from Praça de Santiago to Praça da Oliveira.

In the surroundings of Guimarães, the Belvedere of La Pena, 600 meters above sea level and the spa of Caldas das Taipas are worth visiting.

Climate of Guimarães.

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