The Reconquering of the Castle of Saint George by the Christians

Thu, 03.05.2018

An amazing afternoon on the São Jorge’s hill in the historic centre of Lisbon

History, heroes and legends: these were the main topics of the last walking tour organized by our Language School. The temperate weather was perfect to discover the Castle of Saint George and its neighbourhood.

Starting from Praça da Figueira, we left towards the fortress, stopping first in the folkloristic district of Mouraria. There, we could appreciate the colourful murals that characterize this part of the city.

Walking up the hill, we reached the castle. Once inside, our history teacher Indira explained us the origin of its name. We learned that the Moors occupied the Saint George Castle in the eighth century and made it the centre of their political and cultural power. Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal, succeeded in conquering it in 1147, returning it to the Christians. A popular legend tells that Martim Moniz sacrificed his life by putting his body in the vault of the door in order to allow the Christian troops to enter in the castle. Also, from the top of the hill, we could enjoy a breath-taking view of Lisbon.

During the middle Ages, the Castle became the heart of the power of the Portuguese kingdom. The royals, nobles and councillors lived there. Both the Muslims and the Jews, who lived in Alfama, were under the control of the Christians. In the beginning, they were tolerated, but then they were forced to become Christians.

In the end, we walked through Alfama, the oldest district of Lisbon, characterized by narrow streets and small squares.

The tours organized by our Language School are a good opportunity for our students to practice their listening skills in Portuguese, to visit the national monuments and to learn more about their history and importance in the Portuguese culture.

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The cohabitation between Moors, Jews and Christians during the Medieval time

How did the first king of Portugal banish the Moors from the Castle of Saint George? How was life in the Portuguese court during the middle Ages? How did the Muslim and Jewish minorities live outside the walls of the castle?

We will find the answers to these and other questions in our weekly event, on the 3rd of May. Our Portuguese Language School invites you to join our tour around the ancient Castle of Saint George. It will be your perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the medieval life of Lisbon.

Our history teacher, Indira Leão, will guide us through the discovery of the highest hill located in the the city centre. We will start from the top, where the Castle of Saint George was raised in the II century B.C.. In 1147, Afonso I, cognomened “O Conquistador”, took it away from the Muslims, and this appropriation signalled the beginning of the fortress’s golden age as the court space.

Then, we will go down the hill passing through two mythical places: Alfama and Mouraria. The first was inhabited by the Judaic community during the middle Ages. The second was the place where the Muslims set themselves, after being expulsed from the manor house. We will learn how these ethnic minorities interacted with Christians.

These two districts still maintain their exotic spirit. In Mouraria, our attention will be attracted by the heterogeneity of faces, languages, flavours and aromas.

This multicultural and colourful place will be our perfect frame for our social interaction after the tour while having a drink together.

By participating in this tour you will learn more about the history of the city and you will surely practice your Portuguese. As usual, our teacher will speak in Portuguese and English.

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