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This 16th century fortress was built to protect the Bay of Cascais, and is part of a whole line of fortresses along the Tagus estuary which were built to protect Lisbon from being invaded. It is not currently open to the public, but there are plans to restore it and open it up. However you can apparently take a walk along its ramparts, although we didn’t do that.
The original fortress here was built by King John II in the latter part of the 15th century. It was not strong enough however to repel the Spanish invasion of 1580. The fortress was enlarged soon after by King Philip I who turned it into a typical renaissance citadel with a characteristic flat profile and star-shaped floor plan.
Nearby is a statue of King Carlos 1, looking rather dignified and “in charge” (see photo 4). We thought he looked a bit like Fat Controller of Thomas the Tank Engine fame! He was king of Portugal from 1889 until he was assassinated in 1908. He stands here by the citadel because this king was an enthusiast for all types of maritime activity and exploration. He installed the first oceanographic laboratory in Portugal here in the citadel, and personally led a total of 12 scientific expeditions to the coast before his untimely death.
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With its location being close to the Tagus estuary Cascais was also seen as a strategic point in the defense of Lisbon and around 1488 King John II built a small fortress by the sea Although this small fortress was not enough to repel the invasion in 1580, of Spanish troops led by the Duke of Alba, who sacked the village during the conflict leading up to the union of both the Spanish and Portuguese crowns and again in May 1589 by Sir Francis Drake of England in his retaliatory expedition after the Amada’s failure, (but his attempt to take Lisbon was unsuccessful.) The small fortress was enlarged at the end of the 16th century by King Philip I (King Philip II of Spain) making it a typical renaissance style citadel using the characteristic flat profile with a star-shaped floor plan. At around this time many other fortresses were built on the coast around Lisbon and many of them still exist, although the great Earthquake of 1755 destroyed much of the village
During the invasion of Portugal by the Napoleonic troops during the Peninsula War the citadel of Cascais was occupied by the French in 1807, with General Junot staying for some time in the village.
In 1896 the then King Carlos I started the first oceanographic laboratory in Portugal in the citadel, King Carlos I himself led 12 scientific expeditions to the coast which only ended with his assassination in Lisbon (1908).
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Cidadela - Proctecting The Atlantic Coast
During the age of sail the Portuguese protected their coast and shipping by constructing a number of forts in strategic positions along the coast . The Cascais Cidadela is at typical example of these defensive forts and is prominent as it overlooks the Bay of Cascais.
Built during the 16th century it remains in good condition and as you walk north of the town to the marina you will pass beneath the huge walls. We actually walked inside the fortification.
In 1870 the royal family chose the Cascais Citadel as its official palace of residence during the summer period. King Carlos 1 would swim regularly in the Bay of Cascais.
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Forte de Cascais
The Cidadela or the Fort of Cascais is dated from 16th century and it was built to protect the Bay of Cascais. It is part of a whole line of fortresses along the Tagus River that were built to protect Lisbon from being invaded.
From there you can appreciated a lovely view.
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Cascais Travel Guide
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