Castelo dos Mouros
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member RakeInTheCache
N 38° 47.473 W 009° 23.368
29S E 466176 N 4293680
Quick Description: The Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors) is located in the village of Sintra, in Portugal. The castle is located on a high hill overlooking the village, being one of its most important tourist attractions.
Location: Portugal
Date Posted: 5/12/2007 12:41:21 AM
Waymark Code: WM1HGQ
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Blue Man
Views: 101

Long Description:
If staying in the village below, a nice way to go to the castle is to walk the small roads to the Santa Maria chapel and then take the path that climbs up to the castle. A map of the area can be obtained at the tourist information center or most probably your hotel will have one too.

The ruined castle is part of the Cultural Landscape of Sintra, recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

As implied by its name, the castle is of Moorish origin, but the current building is the result of a romantic renovation carried out in the 19th century. The views from its walls and towers are breathtaking. The village of Sintra with its Royal Palace, as well as the Pena National Palace are all visible from the Castle of the Moors.

Originally, the Castle of Sintra was built by the Moors, possibly between the 9th and 10th centuries. Arab chronicles depict the Sintra region as being very rich in cultivated fields. Its castle was one of the most important in the surroundings.

In 1147, after the conquest of Lisbon by King Afonso Henriques, the Moorish garrison of the castle surrendered to the Christians without resistance. Afonso Henriques promoted the development of the region by granting a foral (letter of feudal rights) to the inhabitants of Sintra and its castle in 1154. During the reign of King Sancho I the castle was repaired, as well as the romanesque Church of Saint Peter, (Igreja de São Pedro) inside its walls.

The decadence of the castle began in the 15th century, when most of the population settled downhill, in today's 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 II started a profound renovation of the castle in the romantic spirit of the time, which saw in the Middle Ages a source of inspiration. The walls and towers were rebuilt, while the Church of Saint Peter was intentionally left in ruins. The castle, blended with the vegetation and topography of the hill, gained a fairy-tale, romantic atmosphere.

Also near the entrance is located the romanesque Church of Saint Peter (See photo), which dates from the 12th-13th centuries. The small church has no roof, but the apse with its barrel vault is still preserved. The capitals of the main portal and chapel of the apse are decorated with romanesque vegetal motifs. The area around the church was excavated and revealed the existence of a mediaeval cemetery with many tombs.

Accessibility: Full access

Condition: Partly ruined

Admission Charge?: yes

Website: [Web Link]

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