Guimarães: The Ducal Palace

When D. Afonso, Duke of Barcelos and the illegitimate son of King John 1st, founder of the Dynasty of Aviz, was made Lord of Guimarães, he built a senhorial, or ducal palace befitting his status, in a style inspired by French chateaux.
The Ducal Palace at Guimarães

However D. Afonso died childless. The Ducal Palace stood neglected until the 17th century when the monks of St. Anthony’s Monastery requested Royal permission to reutilize the stone for the construction of their new Monastery close by.

The request was granted so that by the 19th century the Ducal Palace was in an advance state of dilapidation. The left wing and the frontage had been reduced to its first floor, and what remained was used as a barracks for infantry regiments.

In the 20th century, however the Portuguese State rebuilt the Ducal Palace, completely restoring it and creating a park in the surrounding area at the expense of the former residential neighbourhood.

Today it is a National Monument and apart from a museum, it contains a suite of rooms used by the President of the Republic on visits to the north.

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Arriving in Oporto to select a port wine for his college, Englishman Horace Grimpil soon finds himself embroiled in the conflicting interests of the British and Portuguese communities, where he is an ignorant outsider.

This Portuguese city - a turbulent place of ambition and defiance fought over by the French and British during the Napoleonic wars - is emerging from political turmoil that left the city and its people with their wealth and society destroyed.

Mr Grimpil, however, is about to experience personal turmoil of his own. Little does he know how the passions aroused during his journey of discovery will affect his own character, or how his presence will bring to a conclusion the relentless pursuit of a political revenge spanning generations.

Read more about the book here

Grimpil's Retrogress © 2010

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