July 10, 2015

0336, 1729 PORTUGAL (Braga) - Historic Centre of Guimarães (UNESCO WHS)

0336 Historic Centre of Guimarães - Guimarães Castle

Posted on 19.09.2012, 10.07.2015
In one of the old towers of Guimarães, city often referred to as Cidade Berço (The Cradle City), it is written Aqui nasceu Portugal (Portugal was born here). Nothing more true, because here has established his capital Vimara Peres (820-873), first Count of Portugal, who reconquered from the Moors the area from the Minho River to the Douro River, but especially because its near took place the Battle of São Mamede (24 June 1128), in which Afonso Henriques defeated his mother and her lover, establishing himself as sole leader. After 11 years, the same ruler defeated the Almoravid Moors in Battle of Ourique, and proclaimed himself king of Portugal, to confirm the Portuguese independence from the Kingdom of León.

1729 Historic Centre of Guimarães - Palace of the Dukes of Braganza

Although so closely linked to the birth of independent Portugal, Guimarães hadn't the chance to be its capital, because in 1131, so with 8 years before proclaimed himself king, Afonso Henriques moved the capital to Coimbra. In 950 or 951, Mumadona Dias, Countess of Portugal, founded, on her property in Vimaranes (as it was called then Guimarães) a monastery under São Mamede's invocation. It originated the fixation of people in the area known as vila baixa (downtown). She initiated also the construction of the Guimarães Castle on the hill area which became known as vila alta (uptown), to defend the settlement from Moors and Norman raids. The castle became the official royal residence from 1139 until circa 1200.

The present construction, an austere crenellated structure with towers, was built from stone, begun at the time of Afonso I and continued with various modifications in the following centuries. Part of it was demolished in the 18th century and since then it has been subject to restorations. Its area is delineated by walls forming a pentagram, similar to a shield, that includes eight rectangular towers, military square and central keep. Originating in the foundations of a Roman structure, it was later elaborated on the French model, in its current the form of a shield. It includes several Gothic characteristics, owing to its remodelling at the end of the 13th century, when the keep and residences were constructed.

The Palace of the Dukes of Braganza was initiated between 1420 and 1422 by Afonso, Count of Barcelos, the illegitimate son of John I of Portugal (and future Duke of Bragança), after his marriage to his second wife. His prodigeny would occupy the space until the Dukes of Braganza moved to Vila Viçosa, abandoning the palace. The 16th century marked the beginning of period of ruin, which was aggravated during the 19th century, when the local population used the palace as a personal quarry. During the Estado Novo regime, a controversial restoration restored the Palace, while implying a grandeur that may not have existed.

About the stamps
On the postcard 0336
The stamp is one of the four of the series released by Portugal in 2011 to mark World Veterinary Year, about which I wrote here.

On the postcard 1729
The stamp is part of the series Flower Festival, issued as part of the initiatives regarding this event, one of the most emblematic of Madeira’s tourist attractions. This series highlights the beautiful flowers of Madeira, as well as, some of the artistic and cultural events and displays that are part of this festival.

Guimarães - Wikipedia
Guimarães - Wikitravel
Guimarães Castle - Wikipedia
Palace of the Dukes of Braganza - Wikipedia
Historic Centre of Guimarães - UNESCO official website

Sender 0336: Maria do Ceu Martins (direct swap)
Sent from Vila Nova de Gaia (Porto / Portugal), on 25.06.2012
Sender 1729: Vanic (postcrossing) PT-408737
Sent from Guimarães (Braga / Portugal), on 28.06.2015

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