Baluarte do Socorro / Portas da Gaviarra

Forts, Castles and Ramparts

Walking along the Aid's Bulwark is twice as charming: on one side, it provides amazing views over the River Minho and the city, and on the other side, it makes you feel part of the city’s history. Located on the north end of the Praça-Forte, at the highest point of the hill overlooking the River Minho’s left shore and facing the Spanish city of Tui, it provides superb views over a large section of the river, crossed by the international bridge, and over the opposite greenish landscape of Spain. Wander around, passing by the cannons that defended the town, and imagine you were a soldier defending the country’s sovereignty... Walk through the famed Porta de Dom Afonso, at the lower area of the Baluarte do Socorro, which was the main entrance to the fortress. As it granted access to the river bank and the boat that crossed the River Minho, it was seen as a triumphal entrance. At this western door, dated from the 13th century, notice the Portuguese Coat of Arms on top of the pointed arch, missing the typical escorting castles. Inside, the existence of a squared turret besides the door is another detail that strikes the imagination. It served to defend the fortress in case of attack. If the enemies broke through the tunnel that gave access to the fort, they would be awarded a cruel bath of boiling oil thrown by the locals from the turret’s top! Imagine you were in the Middle Ages, visiting all these interesting places, walking out through the Porta da Gaviarra towards the river bank and taking a boat to cross the Minho River… Don't you feel like making a real boat trip on the river?

Valença (Viana do Castelo)

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