Last month I decided I would post pics from my pre-blog trips, those that I did before I had a digital camera or a digital life. Some will take you to places unchanged, others will prove how cities evolve and how 10 years can make a huge difference.

Today I am rescueing Guimarães in the north of Portugal. We went there around this time of the season, more tan 10 years ago, by car.

So, why visit Guimarães ?

They say that Portugal was born here. I don’t know if that’s true, but here was born the first Portuguese King: Alfonso Henriques (Alfonso the Conqueror or Alfonso I).

This King is the King that secured Portugal’s Independence from Leon in the XII century and the one that took the muslims out of Lisbon and Santarém. And that might be the reason why you will find him in many places when you walk around Guimarães.

Alfonso the Conqueror statue in Guimarães Portugal

Alfonso the Conqueror statue in Guimarães

But Guimarães is more tan just a historic fact. It was the European City for Culture in 2012 and its city center was named World Heritage in 2002. Narrow streets, traditional houses, a different way of building that has been preserved since the Medieval Ages…

visit Guimaraes world heritage site

historic town in Guimarães, World Heritage Site

Plus, its history is permanently connected to the Spanish one. For example, at Praza de Oliveira you’ll find the monument Padrão do Salado, a monument built to commemorate the victory of Salado. On the side, the church Nosa Senhora de Oliveira, built by the King Joao I after his victory over the Spaniards (castillians at the time) at Aljubarrota.

guimaraes down town

padrao da aljubarrota

Also, the Castle was an important place for the Independence of Portugal. It is now a National Monument, partially rebuilt, but in the Xth century it was built to protect the monasteries from foreign attacks. It is outside the historical downtown, but still worth a visit.

Another place we visited was the Paço dos Duques de Bragança. It is a noble palace with a fortified house structure, unique to the Iberian región. It was built on the XVth century by the bastard son of the King Joao I, who would lately become Duke of Bragança. It is also a National Monument.

Paço dos duques de Bragança, Guimaraes

Paço dos duques de Bragança

Besides this, there are many churches and monasteries across Guimarães. Plus, famous Santuario da Penha, a pilgrimmage place they say has amazing views from the city. It was not on our route then, but though you’d like to know.

churches and conventos at guimaraes