The history of Guimaraes cannot be dissociated with the establishment of Portugal as a country and Portuguese as the national language in the 12th century. It is considered special for specializing in building techniques developed since middle ages. These techniques would later be transmitted to the Portuguese colonies in Africa and the New World. The town is in a special state of preservation and has been linked with the evolution of construction in Portugal, especially between the 15th and 19th centuries.
The town dominates the fertile and beautiful plains that stretch towards the sea. It is strategically located on the trade links that connect Monaco and Braga to Viseu and Caminha. These four towns were the seats of the Portuguese Counts since the 10th century. It is therefore fair to say that Guimares was at the heart of the commercial activities emanating from the 4 towns.
Two factors influenced the development of the town. They include; the monastery to the south valley and the fort to the north hill surrounding the 2 rivers.
From 950 to 1498, the Guimares town center developed through construction of a series of stone houses. From Renaissance to Neoclassicism eras, the town was dotted by noble houses as well as civic facilities such as city squares. From 1926 to date, there have been some slight changes in the town since the medieval urban layout. However the buildings have changed over time to resemble the changing architectural styles.
One particular construction style that made the town outstanding is the ‘Taipa de Rodizo’. It involved construction of granite structures mixed with timber as well as sun dried bricks that were made using clay mortar. The construction style is still in use today and was widely exported to the Portuguese controlled territories in Africa and America.
- The medieval castle
- The Romanesque church of São Miguel do Castelo
- The church of Nossa Senhora da Oliveira
- The Palace of the Dukes of
- The Town Hall
- The church of Nossa Senhora
- The bourgeois houses of the 16th century
The Portuguese culture is one of the most interesting cultures in the world. That the Brazilians embraced it so passionately is an indication that their colonial master, Portugal, was able to transfer their culture exceedingly well. In the ancient town of Guimares, you will experience this culture at its best.
For more information on accommodation in Guimares or flights to Portugal, please contact one of our Travel Specialists at North South Travel today