The castle is one of Lisbon’s most emblematic landmarks, strategically placed at the summit of the highest hill in the Portugese capital.
Although the first fortifications on this hilltop date from the 1st-century BC, archaeological excavations have identified a human presence in the Tagus valley as far back as the 8th-century BC. The hill on which the castle stands has played an important part in the history of Lisbon, having served as the location of fortifications occupied successively by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, and Moors, before its conquest by the Portuguese in the 1147 Siege of Lisbon.
Built during the Moorish period of the 11th-century, the castle’s plan is roughly square, and was originally encircled by a wall to form a citadel. Since the 12th-century it has acted as a royal palace, a military barracks, home of the Torre do Tombo National Archive, and now as a national monument and museum. As well as its 11 towers and sprawling gardens, a collection of exhibitions, an archaeological site and numerous viewing platforms can be found at the top of São Jorge Hill; also home to Lisbon Cathedral.