017 - Sintra III - Moorish Castle - Portugal

A long time ago, in this part of today's Portugal, lived Celtic speaking people. Time passed, and this people was slowly "replaced" by many other cultures such as the Muslims, who also built this fortification, one of the oldest and most iconic places in Sintra - known today as the Moorish Castle

This is our visit to the beautiful ruins of Moorish Castle in Sintra:

Click here to see the map.

017.1 This is the first postcard type photo that we can do, as we arrive at Sintra (by train) -> an ordinary train station, an urban train and the beautiful Moorish Castle sitting on top of the hill. No we cannot see Pena Palace from here, it is actually on the mountain behind the Fortress. 

017.2 The walls of the Moorish Castle are easy to see (unless someday, in the future, tall trees will grow in front of it... but I doubt that will happen) and they really are a proof that in more than one way, time can stay "almost" still. In fact if you look at this image, but make it black and white, it would not look much different right? Or maybe make it into a painting, and perhaps some trees would be different, but mostly, is the same.

017.3 Most people will manage their vacation time to visit Pena, Regaleira and Sintra itself (and perhaps a bit of Lisbon) so they will let the Moorish Castle, to be admired from distance. This is great news for those who like to make photography, because this means that the fortress walls will not be filled with hundreds of people at any given moment of the day.

017.4 We loved the "hike" up the mountain and the perspective to be able to walk on the walls and perhaps see the Ocean from there (yes it is possible, in fact, from here soldiers would actually keep two eyes on the horizon, for any possible invasion coming from the ocean), but do know that there are also busses, cars, taxi and bikes that make the trip. No need to hike if it is not your "thing". 

017.5 To climb the mountain and get closer to the main wall it is not difficult, and people of all ages do the climb. It is winding, it is not abrupt and the shade from the trees is helping a lot.

017.6 The vegetation is luxurious but not suffocating and since I don't live in these parts, I loved to make pictures of the trees, as they looked like they are from the Amazon. They also look like the trees Hollywood used for Jurassic Park (just my opinion).

017.7 And in almost no time we get to walk (climb) on the fortress wall! And as it can be seen, it is pretty narrow. In fact to be able to make this picture, we and others had to wait for tourists to finish the selfie photos. But it is worth it and we can catch our breath! 

017.8 Looking down won't help some, but it is stunning! And if you plan to be here late afternoon, the light will be much warmer and the contrast better (we had clouds so the shadows are muted).

017.9 This photo I love it because we can see the fortified walls, the sun reflecting on the Ocean and to the lower right corner we can see the Regaleira Chapel Tower, plus, the roof of Biester Palace (can also be visited, but not featured on this website)

017.10 Here we have another view of the fortified walls and Sintra (plus the train station, in the lower left corner).

017.11 This place is not just nature and fortified walls; there are also archeological sites (with explanations) and some tombs on display, that are believed to date back to the 13th century. Would have been more interesting to find dinosaurs here... 

017.12 Quinta do Monte Sereno (it looks like it is part of the Moorish Castle, but actually it has nothing to do with it, and as with most of the surrounding area, it was built much time after the fortress).

017.13 Any visit of the Moorish Castle, cannot be made without looking at Pena Palace, from distance, from this angle.

In summary, the Moorish Castle is definitely worth seeing.

It represents a true back in the medieval times experience, different from what the fortress of Obidos offers (see article 012) in the sens that is not that romantic, but we can still "see" with the mind's eyes, how soldiers would walk the many stairs on top of the fortified wall, carrying a spear, bow or just a sword, watching over the Ocean and the land and talking gossip and dreams of general human peace (we are still, in more than one way, still in that 8th century...)

Is visiting the Moorish Castle life changing? Perhaps not...

But the Moorish Castle is part of the Sintra package, where magic is Regaleira, colour is Pena Palace, romanticism is Monserrate and history is Moorish so it would be hard to avoid and it will call upon you to return.

We hope you enjoyed this article and that it was helpful. 

Source: http://www.aminhasintra.net/sintraclopedia/lenda-de-melides

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