Thursday, January 20, 2011

Monte da Penha (Guimarães) in winter

Guimarães is a medium-sized city in the North, and it is known as the "birthplace" of Portugal. It was established by the Conde Vímara Peres in the 9th century on top of an even older settlement and it became the first capital of Portugal. The first king of Portugal, Afonso I, was also born here in 1109 (the exact date is disputed) as Afonso Henriques. After winning the battle of São Mamede in 1128 (fought against the kingdom of Leon) and later the (disputed) battle of Ourique in 1139 against the Moors occupying the Iberian peninsula, Afonso Henriques declared Portugal's independence from the king of Castille and León and himself the first king of the Condado Portucalense. Portugal's independence was recognized in 1143 by the king of Castille and León with the signing of the Treaty of Zamora, Alfonso VII, and in 1179 by the Pope.

Guimarães is, in my opinion, one of Portugal's most beautiful cities, but today I am going to post pictures not of Guimarães, but of the Penha mountain that overlooks it. These pictures were taken around January of 2010, when there was an unusual amount of snow on the mountain top (it had even snowed in Oporto that month!).

Personally, I love, love, LOVE Penha. I think that it is a very magical and spiritual place. I highly recommend visiting if you are lucky enough to have the chance.

O Monte da Penha, towering over the city of Guimaraes. You can already see the snow on top!

The hotel that sits at the top of the Penha mountain is on the right. It has stunning views of the city below!

Hotel at the Monte da Penha

The church that sits atop the Monte da Penha.

It was far colder than what I was used to!

A small chapel on top of the Monte da Penha, tucked away behind the large boulders that define the mountaintop landscape.

A view of Guimaraes from behind the church at the top of the Monte da Penha.

Some of the large boulders that cover the Monte da Penha.

*Info* on the Hotel da Penha:

Has 17 rooms and a restaurant that is famous for its fried fish fillets and amazing views of Guimarães.

Phone number: +351 25 341 4245

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