Friday, 7 September 2007

A visit to the Castle of Sintra

The Castelo dos Mouros(Castle of the Moors)is located in the village of Sintra, Distict of Lisbon in Portugal.It is located on a hill overlooking the village and it is one of the most important tourist attraction,recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The castle is of Moorish origin as implied by its name. Built by the Moors possibly between the 9th and 10th century.Arabs chronicles consider Sintra region as being rich in cultivated fields and the castle was one of the most important in the sourroundings.
In 1147,after the conquest of Lisbon by King Afonso Henriques, the Moorish garisson of the castle surrendered to the Christians without resistance.The king promoted the development of the region by granting a letter of feudal rights to the inhabitants of Sintra and its castle in 1154.During the reign of King Sancho 1 the castle was repaired as well as the romanesque Church of St. Peter( Igreja de São Pedro) inside its walls.

The decline of the castle began in the 15th century when most population settled downhill in todays Old Village of Sintra.In the 16th century the castle lost all military relevance and was abandoned by its last inhabitants, the Jews from Sintra.

In 1830,after a long period of ruin,King Ferdinand 11 started the renovation of the castle in a romantic spirit of the time.The walls & towers were rebuilt, while the Church of St. Peter was intentionally left in ruins.The castle. blended with the vegetation and toporaphy of the hill, gained a fairy tale romantic atmosphere.

The view from its wall and towers are breathtaking, the village of Sintra with its Royal Palace as well as the Penã National Palace can be seen from the castle.
The Municipal Town Hall of Sintra as seen from above,
Palaces or palacetes can be seen down below
The Penã National Palace on the other side.

With all the leg work we did climbing up and down to and from the tower for better view, we did´nt have anymore time and strenght to visit the Penã National Palace so we decided to come and visit the palace next time and went back on our way home

1 comment:

penumbra_ said...

thanks for your posts.