B.H. and I are outdoors people, so when we decided to choose just one attraction to visit in Sintra, the choice was easy. Castelo Mouros was a Military Fort from the 8th Century during the Arab occupation. The site was an excellent observation post, with views over the Rio Tejo delta and plains to the coast. While we were not on the lookout for enemy forces, we were interested in the panoramic views.
Click on the photos for a better image.
Sintra below and the coast in the distance.
The Royal Palace of Sintra peeking through the battlements.
The Colourful Palace of Pena, taken from the Castelo walls.
View to ocean through the trees of the Castelo.
In the forest below, the Grey towered building set back on right is Quinta da Regaleira; the Grey roofed building in the left foreground is Chalet Biester.
It was easy to indulge in romantic fantasies as we walked the Battlements. At first it was my own Great Wall of China fantasy, and then I wished myself back to a time when our children were young – when they would have delighted in real “Castle and Knights” games, previously played with plastic castles and figurines. It was that kind of place.
The views were by far the best of any castle we had been to, and the walls seemed to go endlessly onwards and upwards.
Battlements and Sky
Archaeological Excavations within the walls.
- 8th Century – Built by Moorish invaders from North Africa.
- 1093 – King Alfonso VI of Castile captured the castle
- 1094 – The Moors took it back and improved fortifications
- 1147 – Captured by Afonso Henrique’s Crusades but went into a decline. Jewish Settlers lived there.
- 15th Century – Abandoned when Jews were driven from Portugal
- 1636 – Damaged by fire started by a bolt of lightning
- 1755 – Damaged by Earthquake
- 1830/40 – King Ferdinand II consolidated the walls and chapel, re-forrested and created nooks
- 1910 – Classified a National Monument
- 1939 – Some sections of walls repaired
- 1979 – Archaeological excavations in the Chapel discovering medieval funerary tombs
- 1986 – Further cleaning and restoration works
- 1995 – World Cultural Heritage UNESCO listing
Things to Know:
7 Euro Entry; An interesting 400 metre gradual uphill walk from Ticket Office/Amenities to the Castle entrance.
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