Leiria Castle (**)- Majesty in the center of medieval Portugal

Leiria Castle (**)- Majesty in the center of medieval Portugal

Anyone traveling between Coimbra and Leiria, EN1 and IC2, envisions two castles with great landscape impact, the Pombal and the castle of Leiria, but care is not distracted because the traffic is very and not of the case to mislead or at least be fined, as I've been, and almost all the Portuguese who usually makes that route, but let us move forward quickly to the text of the castle of Leiria, demands before the reader in search of other more fleeting pleasures.

Leiria Castle built in a dominant position north of the river Lis, is “ex-libris” City, receiving, annually, between 50 and 70 thousand visitors. In the castle of Leiria stands out:

-Paço Real, Gothic construction and whose “loggia” visually dominates the city;

-the remarkable Chapel Pena, built in the time of King John I of a single nave and chancel with polygonal apse;

-and the Tower of Homage, prismatic, topped by battlements and surmounted by terraced.

In addition to these three spaces Castle Leiria has other architectural landmarks, historical and archaeological. the start of its construction when was a major barrier to penetration Saracen. Therefore, Leiria Castle emerges as a construction of meaning associated with an ideal that is the sovereignty of Portugal and whose reconstruction, no séc. XX, returned his majesty that is believed to have had before his downfall.


Background to the Castle of Leiria

There are no reliable information about early human occupation of the site of the castle, although the Leiria region is rich in prehistoric archaeological evidence and Romans. In the castle of Leiria there are several Roman stones with inscriptions of the Roman city of Collippo (this was on the site of Golpilheira, located between the municipalities of Leiria and Battle and mentioned by Pliny in his Natural History).

Over time, the top of Mount secured control over the landscape of limestone peaks Extremaduran and access to two navigable rivers, o Lis e o Lena. On the hill archaeologists have discovered arrowheads in Flint, spherical ceramic bowls and bell, Roman glass, coins. Evidence pointing to different lifestyles. successive occupation remains were identified in the Bronze Age and Iron Age, in Roman times, in the Islamic period and later centuries the Christian reconquest. However there is no evidence of a previous settlement immediate occupation by Dom Afonso Henriques.


The medieval castle

By signing his government from 1128, the boy D. Afonso Henriques (1112-1185), projected to expand their domains, then limited to the north by the Minho River to the southwest by the Serra da Estrela and the south by the Mondego River. To this end, from 1130, repeatedly invaded the neighboring territory of Galicia in the north, while maintaining attention to the southern border, constantly attacked by Muslims.

To defend this southern region, strategically erected, de raiz, a new castle between Coimbra and Santarém (1135), high on a rocky elevation, one magmatic dome (dolerito with aged 201 and 205 millions of years), just south of the confluence of the River Lys to the Lena River.

The walled enclosure, that would later lead to the castle of Leiria was built in the first half of the twelfth century. For sure it is known the existence of the first intramural church, founded between 1144 and 1147. The fortified hill would be in the possession of King D. Henriques already 1137 when it is taken After the Moors, in 1139 was again under control of the same king, He had appointed mayor. The castle is again surrounded by Saracens in 1140. In 1143 definitely go back to Portuguese control. With the conquest of the Tagus Line, in 1147, the term of Leiria gains greater security. Leiria grows, under the rule of the Canons Regular of Santa Cruz de Coimbra, with representation in Pena Church, so named for its location on the hill, next to the rock. In 1195 D. Sancho assigns Leiria its first charter, to further encourage the settlement and fixing of the population, must to him the construction of the fence connected Vila Velha and immediately below the first walled enclosure of the castle. This involved about the plateau on the slopes from the highest point of the hill and the river. Then it resurfaces the Muslim threat under the Almohad domain. About Vila Velha had two main ports, still exist: north port known as the "Gate of Castelinhos" and the door to the south, known as the "Sun Gate", facing the downtown area and was very modified in the eighteenth century. In 1300 D. Dinis passes ownership of the village and castle to the Queen Santa Isabel, having been made major changes, improvements and embellishments. In the last year of the reign of D. Dinis, in 1324, ordered the construction of the donjon tower, it is only finished in the reign of D. Afonso IV, as reported inscription on the said tower. The new tower will have been replacing the previous tower of the first reigns. About the construction of the Hall of the Castle and Pena reconstruction of the Church there is controversy over the authorship, having been advocates thesis Dionysian (D. Dinis) and Johannine thesis (D. João I) The authoring D. Dinis and Queen Santa Isabel são undoubtedly the Town of St. Simon, next to the church of São Pedro, and where today is the PSP of Leiria, inside the fence of the village and close to the Sun Gate. It is very likely that the Town Castle has had various stages of construction, as the whole castle complex, and should be assigned to different parts of both monarchs.

Chapel-of-feather Leiria

It would then have been D. John I that, from the base built by Isabel, He had risen to the top of City Hall Castle, having them deeply modified a true reconstruction?

In 1475 the monarch donates the landlord of Leiria to the Counts of Vila Real, alienating the village and the whole castle. After the restoration of independence, in 1641, the Marquis of Vila Real and his son are executed for treason, passing the lordship of Leiria for the crown and the goods Built-na Casa do Infantado.

D. Manuel I (1495-1521) granted Foral New Leiria (1510), jurisdiction, in 1545, as a city by D. João III (1521-1557).

An important note was 1245 which gave the Cortes 1254, convened by D. Afonso III, where the first courts were called representatives of the nobility, clergy and people. Since then the site has a lot of time chosen for the performance of Cortes, the origin of the Portuguese parliament.

This castle of Leiria King D. Dinis (1279-1325), who resided there several times, come to donate, in July 1300, à Rainha Santa Isabel, the town and its castle, It was chosen for the creation of his heir, Prince D. Afonso (this time the Town were located in the former seminary, Today police headquarters).

D. João I (1385-1433), here celebrated, in 1401, the marriage of his son D. Afonso (future Count of Barcelos and the Duke of Bragança).


Restoration of independence to the present day

At daybreak the Restoration of Independence (1640), Leiria Castle was one of the first fortifications erecting the banner of Portugal. Sem valor militar, however, progressively plunge abandonment, Welcome to ruin.

In the context of the Peninsular War, in the early nineteenth century, French troops provocaram extensive damage to the city and its monuments, including the Cathedral and the castle. The castle, dilapidated, lost its military value and had been gifted to the abandonment.

At the end of the nineteenth century, the initiative of the League of Friends of Castle architect Ernesto Korrodi drafted a restoration of the castle ruins that have been classified as a National Monument by Decree published in 1910. Finally, in 1915, League started the renovation work, with own funds and assistance from the government. Your job Korrodi developed into 1934, when he leaves the project. The works, however, continued in the late 1930, based on their drawings. The recovery campaigns were taken up by DGEMN in the mid- 1950, pursuing the following two decades. In 1955 the church Pena is recovered, and the project is also part of the reconstruction of the New Town Hall. New campaigns have followed from the mid- 1980, continuing the decade 1990.

So, the reconstruction of the Castle of Leiria should be enough to Korrodi, but most and largest volume of work was subsequently carried out by DGEMN during the Estado Novo.

The castle is open to visitors, taking in the tower, a museum space, where archaeological artifacts found at the site and medieval armory can be appreciated.


The origin of Leiria Coat

The popular imagination relates also to D. Afonso Henriques was preparing to attack the enemy fortress when they appeared several crows fluttering with joy over the army. A moment seen as good omen, I would have preceded the successful battle. Two crows up the arms of the city of Leiria.

Features of the Castle of Leiria

In the castle of Leiria are four major construction periods:

-the XII century Romanesque;

-or Quarter dionisino, the first half of the fourteenth century;

-o Gótico joanino, from the early fifteenth century, and

-Restoration currents of the late nineteenth century and first half of the twentieth century.

The castle walls are topped by merlons quadrangular, being reinforced in their most vulnerable stretch (where the ground slope is not as steep) by a barbican (Here you can see the plan of the castle and rest about), followed by an advanced about, the north and east, enhanced by square turrets plant. On the west side, ripping the call port of Betrayal, in Broken Bow. The internal stronghold, surrounded by walls strap, is disposed at a higher platform northwest, and is dominated by the Keep.

This is about ripping two doors: Puerta del Sol, a sul, where now stands the bell tower of the Cathedral, and the Port of Castelinhos, the north, flanked by two towers.

Surpassing to Puerta del Sol enters into a wide where some buildings, the former Bishop's Palace (walk seats to PSP), Romanesque Chapel of St. Peter and the Museum of MIMO (old Barns Mitra). Climbing up a ramp, access to the entrance of the castle, the door Albacara, arched back round in a tower topped by a parapet and chamfered torn by frestões, which acted as bell tower of the nearby Church of Our Lady of Sorrow.

The main structures of the castle can be described briefly:

Gate of albacar (collecting cattle, em Arabella), Romanesque, elbow as the Muslim use. In the basement of the towers that defendem, are some tombstones with Roman inscriptions, derived from the former “The city” of Colipo, that existed near the Barrier.

House Watch, Small and picturesque building done in 1915, com project of Korrodi. In its porch and columns contained some late-Gothic corbels derived from the cloister of the former Convent of Santa Ana de Leiria, Nuns of the Order of St. Dominic and located where now the market Santana.

Tower of the Bells, access door primitive fortified enclosure, pentagonal shape and with Romanesque arches and millwork containing orbicular cruciform signs or templars. In the thirteenth century it was adapted as a bell tower of the nearby Church of Santa Maria Pena, were torn when new windows in gothic style. It also called, to medieval times, as Tower Buçaqueira, which may indicate that it is the hawks would house used by royalty in their hunting.

Church of Santa Maria Pena (*), a portal, a nave and an apse and romantic idea of ​​ruin build here a pure gem of Gothic architecture made perhaps at the same time as the Batalha Monastery, it shares with the same type of limestone. It has a single rectangular nave, accessed laterally by an ogival portal five Archivolts supported by smooth columns. The polygonal apse reveals coverage ribbed vaults. The side panels of the chancel are torn by beautiful ogival openings. Was used as a palace chapel for Avis Dynasty. In the choir we can even see a Roman stone Collipo, dedicated to the Emperor Antoninus Pius Augustus, and out the Manueline sacristy have access to the ruins.

You can still see a pretty bow manufactory, policêntrico, that have been removed from the chapel of St. Anthony of Carrascal here and put in years 40 the last century.

The mystery of the Y

The stones of the Church No. Mrs. Pena is repeatedly recorded the letter Y what it means?

Ruins of the Collegiate of the canons and clerics Crosier of Leiria. Site of archaeological interest, Here courtroom existed, cells and dormitories, refectory, kitchen, courtyard, and cistern that served religious and served the Church of Sorrow.

New Town Hall, City Hall Castle, Real or Pacos, as quadrangular, the dimensions of 33 m x 21 m. Composed by side towers 4 floors, and a central body 3. No paving lower, is a large lounge with three robust Gothic arches (Hall of Arches), while on the second floor are two smaller halls served the day-to-day palace (kitchen, cellar, dormitory). On the third floor, the royal rooms are located at the ends, divided by the Main Hall (Hall of Audiences) which opened to a gallery or loggia of Gothic arches from where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the city. This gallery is seen from many points in the city and is perhaps the main hallmarks of this castle, I suspect that few Portuguese who came here not. Two bodies flanking constitute a fourth floor, that he would have the inside spread over, the time, luxurious toilets.

Courtyard, of historical and architectural interest is testimony to the political restoration of the monument in the twentieth century, highlighting options for the false and ruin the work intentionally unfinished.

Medieval Barns, set of three barns datable to the thirteenth century, vaulted masonry, that should be originally topped by mud and wood construction, hoje missing.

Door of Treason and False Ruins, torn cloth in the west wall almost completely restored in the late 1930, marks the site of the original port. Also observed false ruins characteristics of restore options of the monument between the late 1930 and to 1950.

Tower of Homage, as Dom Dinis and Queen Santa Isabel Leiria chosen as one of the remaining land, this monarch proceeded to strengthen the castle, with construction of the keep prismatic plant, rising to 17 meters (is divided internally into three floors topped by a terrace and crowned by merlons quadrangular. Sent perform on the foundations of a previous tower, a gothic tombstone epigraphic, enrollees with real coats, indicates that fact on the left side near the door. Was used as a royal prison since mid-fourteenth century, being active, yet, in the second half of the eighteenth century. Not complex, persistem vestígios ruined works of the fifteenth century. Currently patent is a museum inside the core.

Also related to the Barbican have about the Bell Tower Cathedral, location of the fictional novel "Crime of Father Amaro" and Doors North, or Castelinhos Barbican in whose portico is inscribed one of the oldest arms of the municipality of Leiria (fourteenth century), is observed in which, around a castle, two pine trees topped by crows, symbolizing the legend of the founding of Leiria by D. Afonso Henriques.

In Leiria, Castle is a beacon indicator of many historical facts, running at the same time as gazebo overlooking the city know her and allowing virtually one point.

The Leiria Castle is an emblematic monument of the history of the city and the country you are waiting for your visit.

Additional Reference:

-Wikipedia sees often, here's a case in which this essay is based. This text correction and have good written and so our work is facilitated.

-Com a BREVE INTRODUCTION TO HISTORY VANDALISM OF LEIRIA CASTLE, 2011, the master's thesis Micael de Sousa, They are indicated on the relevant history of Leiria Castle.see here.

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