Guimarães is one of the finest historic cities in northern Portugal and is fondly regarded by the Portuguese as the birthplace of their country. It was here that the first Portuguese king (Afonso Henriques 1109-1185) was born, and Guimaraes was briefly the capital city during the foundation of Portugal. We found it to be a lovely, interesting city to visit.
The population of Guimaraes is about 152 000.
The historic centre and its palaces and castle are a World Heritage Site.
There were four main points of interest that we saw in Guimarães:
Rua de Santa Maria
Rua de Santa Maria is the town’s oldest and prettiest street. It has 15th and 16th-century architecture as it was favoured by Guimarães’ noble and wealthy families. I was lucky to photograph this pretty lady walking down the street.
With it being November there were some lovely Christmas decorations, and of course support flags against the Ukraine war.
We noticed this happy group of scouts who posed for a photograph. We also noticed an increasing number of students with drums and later realised this was all due to the interesting and fun event of Nicolinas.
Church of Nossa Senhora da Oliveira
This lovely church is found at Oliveira Square (“Largo da Oliveira). The beautiful church of Our Lady of the Olive Tree (“Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira”), is built over the ruins of an old 10th century Benedictine monastery in romanic style.
Countess Mumadona Dias, the most powerful and richest woman of the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, comissioned its construction in 950 AD. After many reconstructions and restorations, the church is still there, but with gothic characteristics
As you walk in there is a beautiful and vivid painting of Pope John Paul II.
Entry to the church is free, and it is peaceful and cool compared to the bustling square outside.
Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Consolacao e Santos
The Church of Our Lady of Consolation and the Holy Steps has the middle name San Gualter in honor of a Franciscan monk, a local saint. The church itself began to be built at the beginning of the XVIII century on the site of a chapel of the sixteenth century.
The Baroque church is as famous for its geometrically laid out garden as for its interior. The church was locked so we could sadly not see inside.
Largo da Oliveira
The square sits in front of the Church of Nossa Senhora da Oliveira. The square gets its name from the olive tree still growing in the middle of the square. This small pavilion was built in the 1300s on the orders of Afonso IV.