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Fort of S. Julião da Barra

It is one of the most important military buildings in Portugal

The Fort of S. Julião da Barra is a historical and cultural monument located between two of the main beaches on the Estoril line, Torre beach and Carcavelos beach. This fort has a long history and is known for its unique architecture and its strategic location on the Tagus River.

View from the sea over the Fort of S. Julião da Barra, with a blue sky and white clouds

Regarded as the largest existing maritime defense construction in Portugal, the Fort of S. Julião da Barra began to be built in the 16th century, during the reign of King João III. The construction of this work is attributed to Miguel Arruda, one of the most famous architects of the time.

The Fort was expanded over the centuries, as its strategic position was considered of great importance for the defense of the entrance to the Tagus. In this way, the city of Lisbon could be protected from enemy attacks from the sea.

View from the sea over the Fort of S. Julião da Barra
View from the sea over the Fort of S. Julião da Barra

In addition to the military mission of defense, from 1802 onwards it functioned as an educational college, for the children of the soldiers of the Artillery Regiment of the Court, installed there – the genesis of the Military College.

Like other fortifications, the Fort of S. Julião da Barra also served as a military and political prison. The case of General Gomes Freire de Andrade was famous, who was detained in S. Julião da Barra and was executed in the land adjacent to the fortification.

Torre beach with the Fort of S. Julião da Barra in the background
Torre beach and the Fort of S. Julião da Barra

Deactivated from its defensive function in 1947, it started to be used, from 1951, for new functions of state and reception of political events. Here, in addition to others, General Eisenhower and Marshal Montgomery were installed. In July 1957 it was classified as a Property of Public Interest, and is currently under the supervision of the Ministry of National Defence.

Nowadays it is the official residence of the Minister of Defense of Portugal, and it is also a place where cultural events take place regularly.

It is worth discovering the history protected by the moats and bulwarks at the entrance to the city of Lisbon and enjoying the impressive panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.

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