"Castelo dos Mouros" Castelo dos Mouros - Moorish Castle Tip by Willettsworld

Known simply in English as Moorish Castle, this ruined castle is located on a high hill overlooking the town and forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally, the castle 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 and their castle was one of the most important in the surroundings.

In 1109, the castle became subject to an attack by crusading Norwegians, no less, lead by King Sigurd I, on their way to the Holy Land. Every man at the castle were said to have been killed as they had refused to become christened. 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. The decline of the castle began in the 15th century, when most of the population settled downhill, in today's old quarter of Sintra. In the 16th century, the castle lost all military relevance and was abandoned by its last inhabitants, the Sintra Jews. In 1830, after a long period of ruin, King Ferdinand II started renovating it in the romantic spirit of the time.

The castle has two walled segments with a total perimeter of 450 metres. The walls at the north segment took advantage of the natural slope of the hill to prevent enemies from approaching the castle. Near the entrance is the Romanesque Church of Saint Peter, which dates from the 12th-13th centuries and some medieval tombs. It's quite some climb up to the castle from the old quarter (which is what I did), so take plenty of food and water with you. The views from it are breathtaking.

Open: 9.30am-8pm. Admission: ?14.00 when combined with entry to the nearby Pena National Palace.

Phone: +351 21 923 7300
Website: https://www.parquesdesintra.pt/parques-jardins-e-monumentos/castelo-dos-mouros/descricao/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Dec 11, 2010
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