On 2nd August 2014, JB, my brother, his girlfriend and I joined JB’s family members in Pombal (Portugal) to attend an activity integrated in the program “Ciência Viva no Verão” (Summer Living Science). This activity, organized by the “Rede de Castelos e Muralhas do Mondego” (Castles and Town Walls of the Mondego Network), led us in the discovery of the Castle of Pombal and the surrounding area.
Castle of Pombal is located in Pombal, in Leiria district, Portugal.
Together with the Castles of Coimbra, Lousã, Miranda do Corvo, Montemor-o-Velho, Penela, Soure, Germanelo and Buarcos’ watchtower, the Castle of Pombal forms the Defensive Line of the Mondego,
In 1910, the castle was classified has a National Monument.
In 1171, the keep tower was built in the castle courtyard. At that time, the keep tower was the last defensive bastion.
The next major renovations took place in the 16th century, during the reign of D. Manuel I. For example, the medieval walls were reinforced and a new door, facing the town, was opened in the castle wall.
With the lost of its defensive function, Castle of Pombal became the residence of the governor-mor of Pombal.
In the 19th century, during the Peninsular War, the castle was severely damaged by the Napoleonic troops. It was then left to ruins.
Castle of Pombal was restored, in 1940, by the “Direcção-Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais” (General Direction of the National Buildings and Monuments)Characteristics
The castle is located on a hilltop overlooking the town of Pombal, on the margin of Arunca River.
Pombal Castle, whose plan is in the form of a shield, is encircled by walls reinforced by quadrangular towers and protected by a barbican. Nowadays, there are only a few vestiges of the barbican next to the southeast gate.
The access to the castle is made through two arched doors, one to the southeast and the other to the northwest. The latest one, which is the largest door, dates back to the reign of D. Manuel I. Thus, it is surmounted by the symbols of the monarch: the royal shield, the armillary sphere and the cross of Christ.
The keep tower, which stands near the castle’s primitive gate, is a square structure whose door is on the first floor. However, the most notorious feature of the tower is the defensive structure named “alambor”, which consists of the reinforcement of the footing of a foundation wall. This is one of the several innovations in the development of military architecture that Gualdim Pais brought to Portugal.
In the castle courtyard, the foundations of former buildings, as well as the holes of the cistern, are still visible.
On the southeast wall, there’s a double window in which one can see the coat-of-arms of the Sousa Ribeiro family, historical wardens of the castle.
Outside the exterior wall, one finds the ruins of a second wall endowed of three square towers and a chapel that was part of the missing Church of Santa Maria do Castelo.
10h00 – 13h00 | 14h00 – 19h00 (April to September)
10h00 – 13h00 | 14h00 – 17h00 (October to March)
Closed on: Mondays, 1st January, 1st May and , 25th December
Entrance fee: no fee