The castle is one of the spots you should be visiting in Leiria due to the history that lives on as well as its belvedere. From the top of the hill, you can observe the city and the many religious buildings along the margins of the Lis River.
Castle of Leiria
King Afonso Henriques had the Castle of Leiria built during the Christian Reconquest, which formed a defence fortification against the Arabs. Leiria was stage to the meeting of the first courts and it was the residence of King Dinis and the Holy Queen Saint Elizabeth; however, throughout the centuries, it lost its former military value. This fortification was partially destroyed during Napoleon’s invasion and abandoned.
Only in the late 19th century, following reconstruction works, would the Castle of Leiria again become as impressive as former times. Nowadays, it is one of the most visited tourist attractions and stage to many festivities, which include the Gothic festival - ENTREMURALHAS.
GPS 39°44'50.08"N 8°48'33.80"W
OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST
Cathedral of Leiria
Built in 1559, the Cathedral of Leiria dates back to the second bishop of the city, Frei Gaspar do Casal. A late Renaissance work with religious Mannerist, Baroque, and Eclectic architecture. In the novel ‘The Crime of Father Amaro’ written by Eça de Queiroz, Father Amaro was a priest in the Cathedral of Leiria, and complained about its cold and Jesuit style.
GPS 39°44'45.98"N 8°48'24.40"W
Convent of Saint Augustine and Leiria Museum
Located in the Convent of Saint Augustine, Leiria Museum recalls the times of the Liberal Monarchy. This monument was built in 1577 and it is currently a regional museum for Leiria’s works of art, archaeology, and numismatics (science that studies coins and medals from a historical, artistic, and economic point of view).
GPS 39°44'29.94"N 8°48'8.75"W
Santuario dos Milagres (Sanctuary of Miracles)
Santuario dos Milagres – approximately six miles from Leiria – was built in the 18th century in honour of one of Jesus’ miracles, which took place there. There is an annual celebration in honour of the Lord of Miracles, which takes place on the second weekend of September and it is known for a procession with processional litter.
Legend: According to a legend, in 1728, a paraplegic who lived on alms visited this place dragging himself with the aid of cork. As he passed by the place where the chancel now stands, the fragment of cork broke. The man, in total despair, cried for Lord Jesus of Aveiro promising the Lord a panel if he ever walked again. The man fell asleep, and as he woke up, he was taken by surprise: he was no longer in pain and could feel his legs.
Having been granted a miracle, the man took a plank to the land’s painter for him to paint an image of Jesus. A cross was placed there with the image, and it quickly became a space for pilgrimage, prayers, and requests for Lord Jesus of Aveiro. Santuario dos Milagres was built in the 18th century with the money from the alms.