In the tenth century, the Countess of Galicia, D. Mumadona Dias built the fabulous fort known as Guimaraes Castle in order to safeguard the city of Guimaraes against the attacks of the Normans (The Vikings) and the Arab invaders (Moors).In the 11th century when Count Henrique attained the government of the province from King D. Alfonso VI of Leon, Guimaraes Castle was further extended with additional towers and the original wall was made wider. The castle became the official royal residence in 1139, when Portugal got freedom from the Kingdom of León, until circa 1200.
But after this, castle of Guimaraes was affected by many battles and deteriorated by the Spanish intruders for their vanity to keep the Portuguese under their influence. The castle was relinquished time and again. Guimaraes was used as a prison, barn, and quarry.
On 19 March 1881, the Diário do Governo listed the Guimaraes Castle as the most unusual historic monument of the whole region of Minho.
Restoration work was started in 1930 when the Portuguese government declared Guimaraes Castle as the symbol of nationality. It, in fact, represents the birth of the nation and is featured as the ‘Cradle of the Nation’ because it is the birth place of D. Afonso Henriques who designed the wars for the freedom of the Portugal province during the 12th century, and became the first Portuguese king.
Today Guimaraes Castle is the most fabulous historic site of Portugal. The castle has been classified as one of the New Portuguese Seven Wonders. And it is also a world heritage site declared by UNESCO.