“Aqui Nasceu Portugal”. These words adorn the walls of Guimarães Castle, and translate as “Portugal was Born Here.” No idle claim – the Portuguese national identity was truly born in Guimarães, as was the country’s first King. Its contributions to Portugal include language, building techniques, culture and government.
Guimarães Castle was erected in the 10th Century to protect the settlement and monastery from attack. It became the royal residence for the emerging Portugal’s first Royal Family, and was soon at the heart of the young country’s capital. It stands to this day, having narrowly avoided being torn down in the 19th century and used as building material for the expanding town.