Hiking in Guimarães Historical Center (Guimarães)
Guimarães Historic Center, classified in 2001 as World Heritage Site, is one of the most beautiful and well preserved in Portugal. In this urban hiking trail, with just over 7kms, I wanted to find out what persuaded UNESCO to assign such a prestigious distinction to this city and also learn a little more of our history, our identity and soul.
I started this hike in the Quintãs Park towards Guimarães Castle. Guarding the Castle, “D. Afonso Henriques” remains firm with is sword in hand and his shield at his feet, receiving thousands of visitors who every year travel through the walls imagining life in other times.
I wanted to learn a little more of our history, our identity and soul.
A few meters from the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança, built by D. Afonso, first Duke of Bragança’s House at the time of his second marriage to “D. Constança de Noronha”, today integrates several cultural spaces.
I walk by the trail that winds in the garden and leads me to the main entrance of the castle. I walk in the inner spaces, climb the walls and through the battlements I observe the lower Minho landscapes.
Outside the castle walls, by Santa Maria street I go downtown. After “Largo Cónego José Maria Gomes”, where at Santa Clara Convent is installed the town hall of Guimarães, I arrive to the wonderful “Praça de Santiago”. Here the little houses are shelved on each other, with small balconies and flowered porches make this a very peculiar urban heritage. I want to live there and feel the pulse of the city.
By the arches of the old Town Hall, where today is located the Modern Primitive Art Museum, I discover “Largo da Oliveira”, rivaling in beauty with the “Praça de Santiago”. I found “Nossa Senhora da Oliveira” Church based on foundations of an ancient monastery of the 9th century and “Padrão do Salado”, an amazing and well appreciated Gothic porch of the reign of King “D. Afonso IV” celebrating the Battle of “Salado” (in the year 1340).
I walk by “Dr. Avelino Germano” Street to “Largo Condessa do Juncal” and return to “Praça de Santiago” to enjoy a moment of pleasure in one of the sunny terraces.
I go now to “Largo do Toural” where “S. Pedro” Church stands and later I find myself with the famous wall “Aqui nasceu Portugal” (Portugal was born here).
In “Alameda de São Dâmaso” I enjoy the shadows of the public garden while I watch some art installations scattered on the sidewalk.
I continue to walk and arrive to “Largo da República do Brasil”. In the background, the imposing Church of “Nossa Senhora da Consolação e Santos Passos”, classified as a Public Interest Monument, is a great example of baroque architecture in the city. Its origins go back to a chapel built in 1576, dedicated to “Nossa Senhora da Consolação”.
I went a little more to the east up to the Penha cable car that helps the movement of many tourists and pilgrims to the Penha Sanctuary. Back to “Praça de Santiago” and “Largo da Oliveira” I stand until nightfall among some snacks and a good conversation.
It was night tight when I returned to the starting point of the route, thus ending this walk in the Guimarães Historical Center.
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