Cultural Landscape of Sintra, Portugal

Sintra is a major tourist destination in Portugal, famed for its picturesqueness and for its numerous historic palaces and castles. In the 19th century Sintra became the first centre of European Romantic architecture. Around 1840, king Ferdinand II turned a ruined monastery into a castle in which Gothic, Egyptian, Moorish and Renaissance elements were displayed. Among newer sights there is also the Moorish Castle, might be of Visigothic origin. It was certainly used in the 9th century, during the Moorish occupation.

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Historic Site of the week

Narikala Castle

Narikala is an ancient fortress overlooking Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and the Kura River. The fortress consists of two walled sections on a steep hill between the sulphur baths and the botanical gardens of Tbilisi. On the lower court there is the recently restored St Nicholas church. Newly built in 1996–1997, it replaces the original 13th-century church that was destroyed in a fire. The new church is of 'prescribed cross' type, having doors on three sides. The internal part of the church is decorated with the frescos showing scenes both from the Bible and history of Georgia.

The fortress was established in the 4th century and it was a Persian citadel. It was considerably expanded by the Umayyads in the 7th century and later, by king David the Builder (1089–1125). Most of extant fortifications date from the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1827, parts of the fortress were damaged by an earthquake and demolished.