The Church of São Miguel do Castelo is a medieval church in Guimarães. The church is emblematically linked to the foundation of the Portuguese Kingdom. It was constructed within the circle of the Castle of Guimarães, with which it intimately shares a relationship. A few authors argue that it was the church where Afonso Henriques was baptized, dating its probable construction to the 9th or 10th century, during the era of Countess Mumadona Dias, exalting the ancestry of the Church and perpetuating the legend. This current of nationalist histography, which ideologically supported a Romantic revisionism dates to the 19th century and continues to this day (as evidenced from the plaque erected on the site).
The church was first referenced in 1216. Its construction occurred even as this group of clergy were quarrelling with the powerful Archbishop of Braga, which later led to armed confrontation. The building of the Church was justified by the need of a temple in Guimarães, a decision which escaped the Archbishop at the time. It was later consecrated by the Archbishop of Braga circa 1239. Later, it was also referred to as a suffrage of Santa Maria de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira in 1258.
During the Inquirições (inquiries/inventory) of King Afonso III of Portugal the church was referenced in its construction, noting the involvement of the stonemason Garcia Petrarius, who was likely a Moor.
By 1870, the temple ceased to be the parochial church owing to the considerable degradation and ruin of the building. In ruins during the totality of the 1870s, a commission of notable inhabitants in Guimarães, affiliated with the Sociedade Martins Sarmento, proceeded to restore and maintain the essential characteristics that the church had accumulated along the centuries. Between 1874 and 1880, public works to restore the building, including the re-positioning of the primitive cross arch were undertaken. On their completion, the church was once again opened to the public for services. In 1957, the area around the chapel was restored by the landscape artist Viana Barreto.
The Church stands on the northern limit of the historic centre of Guimarães, on the flank of Monte Latito, encircled by forest and accessible by several pedestrian trails. To the southeast is the Chapel of Santa Cruz, to the north is the Castle of Guimarães and to the south the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza.
Stylistically, the building appears to conform to secondary status on the Sacred Hill (Colina Sagrada) of Guimarães. Manuel Monteiro highlighted that the chapel was simple, and concluded that it was a slightly illegal construction (as indicated by the conflict between the Archbishop and the canons of Guimarães). Its almost lack of decoration, with compact walls, low lighting and simple plan (nave and juxtapositioned chancel), were to Monteiro's opinion, indicators of an illegal treatment of the building. When the Archbishop finally consecrated the building the influence of Gothic architecture began to be promoted within the territories, and Romanesque treatments were seen as a resistance to the new style.
The longitudinal church existing of a single rectangular nave and chancel, is built on staggered horizontal spaces covered in a tiled-roof. The walls are constructed in granite blocks topped by gables, while the lateral walls support double eaves. The main facade with portico with interrupted lintel includes a double arch with simple tympanum. The archway is flanked by beams supporting the main body, while a slit window surmounts the entrance and a cross fleury at the apex of its frontispiece. The lateral southern and northern walls are accessible by doors with lintels, and surmounted by demarcated arch with complementary beams and slit windows (as in the facade, but less grande).
The northern façade also includes to arcosolium on either side of the door, one semi-ornate that includes archivolt decoration and the other a more simple. There are no indications whether either arcosolium at one time held remains. The posterior wall also includes a slit window open to the apse and Maltese cross above the main body of the nave.
The simple granite walls of the church are duplicated in the granite slabs that are applied to the floor. Many of the slabs are inscribed and decorated as funeral sepulchres with the names of knights who fell in the line of duty.
At the front left of the chapel is the baptismal font, made of granite in a simple circular form. This baptistery is demarcated by an iron gate crowned in stylized fleur-de-lis. Alongside is a stone with inscription stating that the baptistery was used to baptize Afonso Henriques in 1106. Lateral porticos are carved into simple arches. A full triumphal arch is decorated with frieze with interlocking ribbon motifs, while a cornice runs across the perimeter of the temple.
On a one-step platform in the chancel is a granite altar that stands against the wall fascia on footstool of two steps.References:
The Walled City of Jajce is a medieval fortified nucleus of Jajce in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with citadel high above town on top of pyramidal-shaped steep hill, enclosed with approximately 1,300 metres long defensive walls,. It is one of the best preserved fortified capitals of the Bosnian Kingdom, the last stronghold before the kingdom dissolved under the pressure of military advancement at the onset of Ottoman Empire takeover.
The entire complex of the Walled city of Jajce, with the citadel, city ramparts, watchtower Medvjed-kula, and two main city gate-towers lies on the southern slope of a large rocky pyramid at the confluence of the rivers Pliva and Vrbas, enclosed by these rivers from the south-southwest, with the bed of the Pliva, and east-southeast by the river Vrbas gorge.
The fortress was built by Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić, the founder of Jajce. However, the city became the seat of the Bosnian kings, hence the royal coat of arms decoration on the citadel entrance. A part of the wall was built by the Hungarian King, while the Ottomans erected the powder magazine. The walls are high and the castle was built on a hill that is egg shaped, the rivers Pliva and Vrbas also protect the castle. There is no rampart on the south and west.
Jajce was first built in the 14th century and served as the capital of the independent Kingdom of Bosnia during its time. The town has gates as fortifications, as well as a castle with walls which lead to the various gates around the town. About 10–20 kilometres from Jajce lies the Komotin Castle and town area which is older but smaller than Jajce. It is believed the town of Jajce was previously Komotin but was moved after the Black Death.
The first reference to the name of Jajce in written sources is from the year 1396, but the fortress had already existed by then. Jajce was the residence of the last Bosnian king Stjepan Tomasevic; the Ottomans besieged the town and executed him, but held it only for six months, before the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus seized it at the siege of Jajce and established the Banovina of Jajce.
Skenderbeg Mihajlović besieged Jajce in 1501, but without success because he was defeated by Ivaniš Korvin assisted by Zrinski, Frankopan, Karlović and Cubor.
During this period, Queen Catherine restored the Saint Mary"s Church in Jajce, today the oldest church in town. Eventually, in 1527, Jajce became the last Bosnian town to fall to Ottoman rule. The town then lost its strategic importance, as the border moved further north and west.
Jajce passed with the rest of Bosnia and Herzegovina under the administration of Austria-Hungary in 1878. The Franciscan monastery of Saint Luke was completed in 1885.
The Walled city of Jajce is located at the confluence of the Pliva and Vrbas rivers. It was founded and started developing in the Middle Ages and acquired its final form during the Ottoman period. There are several churches and mosques built in different times during different rules, making Jajce a rather diverse town in this aspect. It is declared National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and, as the old Jajce city core, including the waterfall, and other individual sites outside the walled city perimeter, such as the Jajce Mithraeum, it is designated as The natural and architectural ensemble of Jajce and proposed as such for inscription into the UNESCO"s World Heritage Site list. The bid for inscription is currently placed on the UNESCO Tentative list.