Portugal - Sintra
~ Sights, Views and History ~

Cultural Landscape of Sintra - UNESCO World Heritage
View from the National Palace to the moorish castle, Castelo dos Mouros
Sintra is simply a must, if you are in the area of Lisbon! The old Moorish city, which was recaptured in 1147 by the Portuguese King Alfons 1, has been the summer residence of the Portuguese kings and the aristocracy for more than 600 years. Today Sintra is a popular tourist spot, surely not least because of its mild humid climate and its picturesque location at the foot of the small coastal mountains Sierra de Sintra that rise sharply above the city. The main attraction, however, are its historical sights.

Sintra National Palace - Palacio Nacional The landmark of Sintra is the National Palace (Palacio Nacional da Sintra), with its huge, conic, white twin chimneys, which rise above the large palace kitchen, and are visible from quite a distance.  It is one of the most important examples of regal architecture in Portugal and for that reason is classified as a National Monument.  The palace was continuously inhabited as a royal summer residence from the 14th to the 20th c.  It is a conglomerate of different architectural styles. Elaborate wood carved ceilings, which arch over the rooms and marvellous wall decoration with ceramic tiles from the 15th/16th centuries, the Azulejos,, bear witness to the Arabic influence.  The tiles were manufactured in Seville and it is the oldest and most extensive collection on the Iberian Peninsula.

Sintra, National Palace - coats of arms roomThe art of manufacturing Azulejos street sign from tileswas brought to Spain and Portugal by the Arabs.  Since then this craft developed into a traditional art and became a special feature of Portuguese architecture. Elaborate wall paintings from tiles decorate banqueting halls of palaces as well as churches, public buildings, private homes, staircases and fountains. Even street signs on houses are made from decorative tiles!

Further attractions of Sintra
Sintra Castelo dos mooros
High up on the hilltops of the Sierra de Sintra, the well preserved remains of the imposing Moorish Castle (and the Pena Palace rise above the city.  The Moorish castle (Castelo dos Mouros) was built by the Moors in the 8th and 9th centuries and its walls wind themselves like a small Chinese wall round the rock ridges.  From the towers and walls one has a spectacular outlook onto the city and its surroundings.
Sintra Castle / Palacio da Pena
On the highest hilltop the pseudo medieval Pena Palace (Palacio National da Pena) with a 270 hectare large garden is situated.  This marvellous fairy tale castle was begun in 1840 as a royal summer residence on behalf of the German Prince Consort of Queen Maria II, Ferdinand of Saxonia Coburg-Gotha and is the most important example of Portuguese architecture in the Romantic period.  It is also called the ‘Portuguese Neuschwanstein’ – in fact, a very fitting comparison!
Sintra Quinta da Regleira
Another special tourist attraction is the Quinta da Regaleira in the historic center of Sintra.
It is a 4 ha dreamlike property with a palace and a large park, lakes, fountains and bridges, with grottos, caves and a tennis court. The Quinta was built between 1904 and 1910 according to a project by the Italian architect Luigi Manini and on behalf of António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro (1848-1920). The Quinta da Regaleira  is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Just 11 km eastwards from Sintra there is Azenhas do Mar. The village on the cliffs offers a spectucular view! It is located at the coast of the municipality of Sintra, parish of Colares. The place developed along the Cameijo stream, which flows into the Atlantic and breaks the cliffs of the coast. At the base there is a beach with an oceanic pool.
In addition to the picturesque natural landscape, there are also some buildings in the Smooth Portuguese Style with tiles on the facades, such as the school and the residence for the teacher.

Sintra - Pena Palace - Palacio da Pena
Sintra Pena Palace  - palacio da Pena
Sintra - Moorish Castel - Castelo dos Mouros
Azenhas do Mar, near Sintra
Palacio da Pena
Palacio - detail
Castelo dos Mouros
Azenhas do Mar near Sintra


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