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Sao Jorge Castle - A Monument to Lisbon's Legacy

One of the best things about the Castelo de São Jorge is its magnificent location which allows visitors to enjoy the amazing panorama of Lisbon from its many vantage points. The eleven towers of this stronghold, which date back to the middle of th...

Also Known As

The Castelo de São Jorge

Quick information

RECOMMENDED DURATION

3 hours

Timings

9am–9pm

NUMBER OF ENTRANCES

3

Plan your visit

Did you know?

The Castle Hill, occupied since the 8 BC, has a rich history with Celtic tribes, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, and Moors contributing to its fortifications.

King Alfonso Henriquez, aided by crusaders, captured the Castle from the Moors, using it as a royal residence until the 1755 earthquake.

The Castle served as a fortified residence for Alfonso III in 1255, underwent renovations by King Denis I, and had a protective wall built by King Ferdinand I.

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What is Sao Jorge Castle?

Sao Jorge Castle

São Jorge Castle, also sometimes called Saint George's Castle, is a historic landmark in Lisbon, Portugal . It's one of the most recognizable parts of the city skyline, sitting on the highest hill in Lisbon. Here's all you need to know about Sao Jorge castle.

Quick facts about Sao Jorge castle

São Jorge Castle
  • Official name: São Jorge Castle
  • Location: Lisbon, Portugal (highest hill)
  • Timings: Varies depending on the season, generally 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Architectural style: Military medieval architecture
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: No
  • Number of visitors per year: Approximately 500,000
  • Function: Originally a military castle, now a museum and tourist destination

Plan your visit to Sao Jorge castle

Timings

Timings

Open daily:

  • Summer Schedule (March 1st to October 31st): 9am to 9pm, with last entry at 8.30pm.
  • Winter Schedule (November 1st to February 28th/29th): 9am to 6pm, with last entry at 5.30pm.

The castle is closed on:

  • January 1st
  • May 1st
  • December 24th and 25th

Location

Address: R. de Santa Cruz do Castelo, 1100-129 Lisboa, Portugal

São Jorge Castle is situated on the highest hill in Lisbon, Portugal.

Find on map

Nearest train station: Rossio Train Station (1.2 km)

Highlights of Sao Jorge Castle

Sao Jorge Castle Historical Significance

Historical Significance

São Jorge Castle, dating back to the 6th century, is a testament to Lisbon's rich history, having witnessed centuries of conquests and transformations.

View from Sao Jorge Castle

Panoramic Views:

Offering sweeping, panoramic vistas of Lisbon's iconic skyline and the meandering Tagus River, the castle provides a spectacular backdrop for exploration.

Sao Jorge Castle Medieval Architecture

Medieval Architecture

Inside its robust walls, you'll discover exceptionally preserved Moorish and medieval architecture, including formidable battlements, towers, and a charming inner courtyard.

Sao Jorge Castle is a cultural hub

Cultural Hub

São Jorge Castle transcends its historical role by hosting cultural events, exhibitions, and performances, making it a lively and culturally significant destination within Lisbon.

History of São Jorge Castle

The history of São Jorge Castle dates back to the 11th century when the Moors built it during their occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. It was initially called the Castle of Alcáçova and was used as a fortress to defend Lisbon from invading forces. In 1147, the castle was captured by Christian forces led by King Afonso Henriques in the Siege of Lisbon, and it became a royal palace and residence of the Portuguese monarchy.

Over the centuries, the castle underwent several renovations and expansions, adding various architectural styles to its design, such as Gothic and Manueline. In the 16th century, the castle served as a military stronghold during the Spanish occupation of Portugal.

During the 20th century, the castle was restored and opened to the public as a historical landmark and a tourist attraction. Today, it serves as a cultural center, hosting exhibitions and events that showcase Portugal's rich history and culture.

Who built São Jorge Castle?

The construction of São Jorge Castle is attributed to the Moors who occupied the Iberian Peninsula in the 11th century. The castle was initially built as a military fortress to defend Lisbon from invading forces. The original design of the castle reflects the Moorish architectural style, characterized by the use of limestone and granite, as well as the incorporation of horseshoe arches, decorative tiles, and geometric patterns. Throughout the centuries, the castle underwent several renovations and expansions, adding various architectural styles to its design, such as Gothic and Manueline.

The construction of the castle did not involve any specific architect as it was built by the Moors as a military stronghold. However, its architectural significance lies in its blend of different styles, reflecting the various periods of its history. The castle remains a testimony to the diverse cultural heritage of Lisbon and Portugal, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to admire its architecture and learn about its rich history.

Architecture of Sao Jorge Castle

Sao Jorge Castle Architecture

São Jorge Castle in Lisbon showcases a captivating blend of Moorish and medieval architecture. Its robust stone walls, defensive battlements, and graceful courtyards embody centuries of history. Perched atop a hill, the castle offers stunning panoramic views of Lisbon, making it a mesmerizing architectural gem and a testament to the city's rich heritage.

Beyond Sao Jorge Castle

Pena palace

Pena palace

The Pena Palace is a stunning Romanticist castle perched on a hilltop in Sintra, Portugal. Built in the 19th century by King Ferdinand II, the palace is a vibrant mix of architectural styles, from Gothic to Manueline. Its bright colors, decorative towers, and fantastical features make it a true fairytale castle.

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Frequently asked questions about São Jorge Castle

What is São Jorge Castle?

São Jorge Castle is a medieval castle and historical landmark located in Lisbon, Portugal.

Why is São Jorge Castle famous?

São Jorge Castle is famous for its rich history and architectural significance, having served various purposes throughout its existence, including as a royal palace and a military fortress.

Where is São Jorge Castle?

São Jorge Castle is located on a hill in the historic center of Lisbon, overlooking the city and the Tagus River.

Why should you visit São Jorge Castle?

You should visit São Jorge Castle to explore its exhibitions and displays showcasing Lisbon and Portugal's history and culture. You can also enjoy stunning views of the city from the castle walls, making it a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Lisbon.

How do I book tickets to visit São Jorge Castle?

You can book tickets to visit São Jorge Castle online.

What’s inside São Jorge Castle?

Inside São Jorge Castle, you can explore exhibits and displays showcasing the history and culture of Lisbon and Portugal. There is also a collection of archaeological artifacts, medieval weapons, and armor, among other things.

What are the São Jorge Castle opening hours?

São Jorge Castle is open seven days a week, except for January 1st, May 1st, and December 24th, 25th, and 31st. The castle operates from 9am to 9pm, with last admission being at 8:30pm