Once through the portals of the castle precinct, one can wander along the area between the castle walls (on the right here) and the ramparts above the city.
One of the number of cannon on the ramparts looks out over the Baixa.
A wonderful view of the Baixa, with the River Tagus in the distance. The bridge is the Ponte 25 de Abril (25th of April Bridge to commemorate the1974 revolution which overthrew the ultra-right wing Salazar government). Built by the same company that built the San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge, it was
completed in 1966. The upper deck carries six car lanes and the lower deck two railway tracks (added in 1999). At 2 277m it’s the 23rd longest suspension bridge in the world. Also visible on the far left is the statue of Christ the King, a 110m tall structure completed in 1959.
Here we look down onto the Praça da Figuiera (middle distance, right). Just visible beyond and slightly to the left is the Praça Dom Pedro IV (where the trees peep over the roofs). One also gets a glimpse of the modern roof of the Rossio railway station with its two narrow and one wide arches. To the left is the Convento do Carmo, which we see better in the image below.
The Convento do Carmo was a a convent erected for the Carmelite Order in 1389. During the catastrophic earthquake of 1755 the convent and its church were destroyed. The convent was rebuilt, but the ruins of the church remain as a memorial to the earthquake. On the left is the Elevador de Santa Justa
(Santa Justa lift), a lift (or elevator) built in 1902 to connect the Baixa with the much higher Largo do Carmo. Today it functions mostly as a tourist attraction.
From the north-western ramparts of the castle we look out over the Largo Martim Moniz (where the white marquees are). This square is named after a knight of the Second Crusade who, (according to legend) when Afonso Henriques and his forces attacked the castle, noticed that the Moors had not managed to close the castle gates completely and fast enough, so he threw his body between the two massive wooden doors as they were being
swung shut. He lost his life, but his sacrifice enabled the crusaders to force the doors and take the castle.
The inner castle or casteljo is much as it was seven centuries ago. Much of the original castle has been lost over the centuries, but this part remains. The moat is now dry.
The main tower, Torre de Ulisses (Ulysses Tower) – previously known as the Torre Albarrã – was for many years where the Kingdom’s archives were held.
It was an indescribable sensation, walking along these battlements that have been here for over 700 years…
And, as the sun set over wonderful, beautiful, unforgettable Lisbon, we take a last look at two embrasures before heading off to our hotel to get ready for our very early flight to the island of São Miguel in the Azores the next morning…
For more details about the Castelo, click HERE. These images are also to be seen on my website Ray’s Cam.