Historic Centre of Guimarães

Guimaraes is a pretty town an hour or so from Porto by train. As you walk into the centre from the station you are confronted by a wall bearing the legend (translating freely) “Portugal was born here”.  This seems to be for a variety of reasons: the man who became the first kind of Portugal was allegedly born here and the area was part of the land held by his family and an administrative centre for the region.

Guimaraes

Guimaraes

The UN listing however, whilst mentioning this, cites the town for being “an exceptionally well-preserved and authentic example of the evolution of a medieval settlement into a modern town” and for medieval bulding techniques developed there which influenced those used in Portuguese colonies in Africa and South America.

Guimaraes - Palace of the Dukes of Bragança

Guimaraes - Palace of the Dukes of Bragança

I spent a lot of time visiting the castle and a palace built in a style influenced by more northern European buildings (although the very tall cylindrical chimneys were new to me) and decorated with 17th and 18th century furniture. I also had some lovely sorbet-like icecream in apple and mango flavours, to break my daily custard tart habit.

Guimaraes - Portuguese baroque house

Guimaraes - Portuguese baroque house

The style of building exported to the colonies was a granite ground floor with a wooden framed superstructure filled with dried mud bricks.

Guimaraes - old houses

Guimaraes - old houses

And here’s a representative house rendered in Lego:

Lego Guimaraes house

Lego Guimaraes house

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