#159 Castelo de
Guimar‚es, Minho, Portugal
Mid-10th century, 1130 plus restorations
This is NOT an official Lego site
first castle of Guimar‚es was built by Mumadona Dias,
Countess of Portugal from 924 to 950. She was the aunt of
King Ramino II of Leůn. She built a monastery at
Guimar‚es, but found it prone to attack both by Normans
from the north and Moors from the south. The castle was
built to protect the monastery. It is not noted whether
the first castle was made of wood or stone or both...
Over the next century and a half the castle apparently
did its duty, but Portugal remained a province of the
Spanish Kingdom of Castile & Leůn. We move to the
late 11th century: Henrique of Burgundy was born in 1066.
As a younger son of the heir of Robert I, Duke of
Burgundy, he had little chance of fortune or titles by
inheritance. He therefore joined the Reconquista campaign
of his uncle King Afonso VI of Castile & Leůn
against the Moors in the Iberian peninsula.
was so successful in his military role that he was
allowed to marry King Afonso the Brave's illegitimate
daughter Teresa, Countess of Portugal, in 1093 and thus
received as dowry the County of Portugal, fiefdom of the
Kingdom of Leůn. Henrique had 6 children, including 3
sons, but the only one to survive infancy was the scrawny
and crippled infant Afonso Henriques, born in 1109. At
the death of his father in 1112, the youth under the
tutelage of his mother Teresa, became Count of Portugal.
By age 11 the young Count, growing stronger each year and
discarding his youthful infirmities, became a thorn in
his mother's side! He sided with the Archbishop of Braga,
and both he and the Archbishop were exiled! At 14 with
the age of manhood upon him, Afonso Henriques declared
himself a knight. He gathered an army and at the Battle
of S„o Mamede in 1128 (near Guimar‚es) rested northern
Portugal from his mother's control, declaring himself
Prince of Portugal in 1129.
|Afonso Henriques chose Guimar‚es as his headquarters, but the old castle of Mumadona Dias was much decayed. He removed the old castle and rebuilt the Castelo de Guimar‚es about 1130 much in the form it is seen today. He then turned his attention to the Moors. On July 26, 1139 he defeated the Moors at Ourique, declaring himself King Afonso I of Portugal! Guimar‚es Castle was the his headquarters until his death in 1185. Eventually Guimar‚es became a state prison and was recommended for demolition in 1836. However the castle was not destroyed and in 1881 Guimar‚es was listed as the most unique historical site in Minho. In 1910 the castle was declared a national monument, and from 1937-40 major restoration returned the Castelo de Guimar‚es to its historic place of honor.|
|The north tower seen
from near the entrance
to the donjon
A close-up of
into the donjon
|The northeast tower||The west tower||
Detail of the
stairs of the north tower
with its door into the residence
of the Lego Model
under construction in August 2017
began on August 1 with the
usual outlining of the castle, allowing me
to adjust baseplates. For the first time I'll
be using Google Earth to walk around the...
...current castle to
the rocky terrain upon which
Guimar‚es rests. It's an
I began at
the north end of the
castle, where a town gate is just
below the North Tower. It's the
lowest point near the castle...
me to "walk" up the slope,
constructing the hill, huge boulders and
the base of the curtain wall as I go.
This is the end of day 3.
By the end of August 5,
gross landscaping is complete.
I can now
turn my attention to the
castle's unusual courtyard.
But first a
grid of supports
and beams must be laid out.
I never do
this beforehand: It's fun to
figure out the most efficient way to support
the courtyard, curtain walls, donjon, etc.
By the end of
August 7, much of the
substructure and courtyard are done...
donjon and residential
range outlined, and the difficult
south end saved for last.
Two more days
shows progress on the
dual stairs to the wall walk
strides at the
town entrance at the base
of the south tower.
after building began,
the larger entrance is complete.
|The donjon and
are up to the 2nd level, with
the double staircase complete.
The wall walk
reaches the south
west tower is
finished. The next pictures
will be the completed model!
of the Lego Model
Built August 2017
On August 23
the castle is
completed. Here's the view from
the much photographed east side.
The view from
east highlights the town
entrance through the
south tower, now blocked.
|The SSW view features
both the exit of the tunnel,
and the huge boulders of
the castle's hilltop.
|The west side the
accents both the west tower
and the town entrance to the
The view from
west highlights the steps
to the town wall originating
amongst the rocks.
north view shows
both the north tower, and
the residential range, the
exterior still intact.
|The northeast tower is
feature of this view. Only the
NE and south towers contain
|This is my best shot
at showing the tunnel
under the south tower.
|Here is the completed
staircase to the wall walk, tower
rooms, residential accommod-
ations and donjon entrance!
"Great Castles of Europe"
show featuring Guimar‚es
said a drawbridge guarded
the donjon entrance. There
is no sign of one now.
Here's the back of the
north tower, which leads
into the residential range.
is my idea of
what the residential range
would have looked like
nine hundred years ago.
Other Castelo de Guimar‚es pages (the last two are in Portuguese):
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