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My Escapes Portugal Another Lovely Trip to Portugal! Cascais Small, But Beautiful Cascais Nossa Senhora [...]

Nossa Senhora da Luz Fortress

September 11, 2014
April 29, 2015

Portugal is famous for its fortresses and the Lisbon area is one of the best places for visiting such establishments.
Cascais is home to one of the biggest ones - the Nossa Senhora da Luz Fortress - which is one of the jewels of Portuguese military architecture.

The Nossa Senhora da Luz Fortress overlooks and guards the Atlantic entrance to Lisbon through the Rio Tejo's wide mouth.

The citadel was built in the late 1600's and it is in fact, one of Portugal's largest fortifications.

Nossa Senhora da Luz Fortress from close

The first good view of the forstress from close

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In order to defend Lisbon from threats by French and English troops, as well as against pirates, a series of fortresses were constructed between the 15th and 17th centuries - strategically, at the mouth of Rio Tejo (River Tagus), where ships enter to reach Lisbon.

Corner turret

A corner turret

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In 1871, some of the buildings found inside the citadel were transformed into a summer residence for the Portuguese royal family.

Cascais is a beloved destination of the Portuguese elites, even today - many buy property in the area for leisure purposes.

Near the Nossa Senhora da Luz Fortress

Near the entrance

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This fortress basically has a rectangular shape. More or less... so, it's not perfectly symmetrical.

The turrets are sharper in order for better self-protection. Round turrets would have been more vulnerable and would have created "dead zones" where it would have been impossible or, very hard to fire from inside the fort.

Old gas station

Strange spot for a gas station (inside the fortress), but this sure is scenic!

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The rectangular-shaped fortresses with "sharp" turrets and flat walls are typical to Portugal and Spain. Although, according to my sources - they first appeared in Italy.

The Nossa Senhora da Luz fortress reminded me of Funchal's São João Baptista do Pico Fortress, which I had visited back in 2008.

Large binocular

A gigantic binocular...

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Locally, the Nossa Senhora da Luz Fortress is called simply "Citadela" or "Citadel"..

The dwelling is home to the Citadela Art District, perhaps that's the reason why I came across a huge binocular (statue) in the middle of a square.

Plastic binocular statue

The material? It was made from hollow plastic. Very light. It felt empty inside.

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I walked a bit around to explore the interiors, to admire and contemplate parts of the architecture from close range.

You can't help noticing a slight contrast between old and new, while wandering inside the fort.
As shown higher, there is even a gas station (an old one) behind the walls. I don't know if it's functional.


Contrast of shapes and colours

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The burning sunlight was very strong, there were barely a few visitors curious to get inside.

Restaurants, places for eating and drinking...

But the Sun was strong and it just didn't feel right to sit down and eat/drink in here. It all looked great, but felt a bit deserted..

Quiet square

A quiet place under the hot hot Sun

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I had to rush it, because I had to fly out of Lisbon later that night. So, I left the fortress and continued exploring it from the outside, walked towards the marina.

This was I was able to see more of the exterior walls.

The Citadel - from outside

From the outside...

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I must mention that there is a beautiful (and expensive) luxury hotel inside the walls of the Citadel.
It's called Pousada de Cascais Cidadela Historic Hotel. Quite a long name...

For a night in August they showed prices generally above 350 EUR, but many above 400-450 EUR for rooms. Suites are from 500+ EUR, all the way to more than 5,000 EUR.

Cascais fortress triangular bastion

You can see a partly separate section of the fortress

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Above you can see that part of the fortress appears as a semi-separate dwelling. In fact, the fortress' southeastern turret is missing. Instead, there is a mini-fortress of triangular shape there.
This mini fortress is connected to the large one. Essentially, instead of that particular turret, they built an entire structure and connected it with the main structure with bridges.

For a digitally-recreated image of the fort and a map showing its exact location see this.

Fortress near the marina

When viewed from the marina

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Escape Hunter

About the Author:

Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...


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