Open to the public 365 days a year, the Castelo de S. Jorge (Castle of St. George) is now a place where you can enjoy heritage, get to know a bit about the history of Lisbon at the Museum, explore the ruins of an 11th c. Moorish neighborhood at the Archaeological Site, discover unprecedented views of the city from the Periscope – Tower of Ulysses, wander the gardens and viewpoints, take a break at the Castle Café, participate in guided tours and other educational activities or simply delight in the music, theater, festivals and symposia on heritage that enliven days at this notable Lisbon monument.
Built in the mid-11th century, during the Moorish period, this fortification is situated in the area most difficult to access at the top of the hill, making use of the natural slopes to the north and west. The purpose of the castle was to house military troops and in case of siege, the elite who lived in the alcáçova (citadel). Unlike most European castles it was not meant as a residence. It still retains eleven towers, the most outstanding being the Torre de Menagem (Tower of the Keep), Torre de Ulisses (Tower of Ulysses), Torre do Paço (Palace Tower), Torre da Cisterna (Tower of the Cistern) and the Torre de São Lourenço (Tower of St. Lawrence) located on the hillside. Ruins of older structures and a cistern still remain in a second courtyard. Also found here is a small door on the northern wall called the Door of Treason which allowed secret messengers to enter or exit when needed. Three sets of steps leading up the sides of the walls provide access to the towers and the ramparts, one in the first courtyard and two in the second.
Ruins of the former Royal Palace of the Alcáçova
The building complex now housing the Museum, Café and Casa do Leão Restaurant was once part of the Royal Palace of the Alcácova. The remaining original rooms -- our most significant memory of the medieval royal residence – have, over the centuries, undergone many changes due to successive building and remodelling work.
Archaeological Excavation Site
These archaeological ruins show evidence of the three significant periods in the history of Lisbon: the initial living structures dating from the 7th century B.C.; houses and streets from the mid-11th century, the Moorish era; and ruins of the last palatine residence – the Palácio dos Condes de Santiago (Palace of the Counts of Santiago) – destroyed by the earthquake of 1755.
Open for visitation, the collection consists of objects found in the archaeological excavation area and provides an introduction to the various cultures and lifestyles dating back from the 7th century B.C. to the 18th century A.D. which contributed to building modern-day Lisbon with particular emphasis on the Moorish period from the 11th-12th centuries.
Garden with Native Forest Species
The garden of the Castelo de S. Jorge is the only remaining green space in Lisbon where the primary native species of Portuguese forest predominate. Visitors can observe such trees as cork oak, olive, carob, strawberry, umbrella pine and various fruit trees, in memory of the vegetable garden of the Royal Palace of the Alcáçova.
Periscope – Tower of Ulysses
This periscope, an optical system of lenses and mirrors invented by Leonardo Da Vinci in the 16th century, gives visitors detailed 360º views of the city in real time, including its monuments, most emblematic areas, the river and the bustle of Lisbon itself. The device is housed in the Torre de Ulísses (Tower of Ulysses), one of the most symbolic towers of the Castelo de S. Jorge. It was formerly called the Torre do Tombo (“Tumbling” Tower) and it was here that the most important documents of the Portuguese kingdom were kept between the 14th and 18th centuries.