Castle of the Moors

Sintra, Portugal

The Castle of the Moors is a hilltop medieval castle built by the Moors in the 8th and 9th centuries. It was an important strategic point during the Reconquista, and was taken by Christian forces after the fall of Lisbon in 1147. It is classified as a National Monument, part of the Sintra Cultural Landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

During the second half of the 12th century, the chapel constructed within the walls of the castle became the parish seat. This was followed by the remodelling and construction under the initiative of King Sancho I of Portugal. In 1375 King Ferdinand I of Portugal, under the counsel of João Annes de Almada, ordered the rebuilding of the castle. While the structure was well fortified by 1383, its military importance was progressively diminishing as, more and more, the inhabitants were abandoning the castle for the old village of Sintra.

By 1493 this chapel was abandoned and later only used by the small Jewish community of the parish. The Jews occupying and using the structures in the castle were expelled by Manuel I of Portugal, and the castle was completely abandoned.

The 1755 Lisbon earthquake caused considerable damage to the chapel and affected the stability of the castle. By 1838 the towers were already in ruins, when in 1840 Ferdinand II of Portugal took up the task of conserving and improving the condition of the castle.

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Founded: 8th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Portugal

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

J. B. (2 years ago)
There are plenty of well preserved medieval castles in Portugal and Spain but this one commands magnificent views on Sintra, the Pena Palace and the Atlantic Ocean. The huge boulders all over the place are really impressive. Well worth a visit.
Paulina_J (2 years ago)
Great place where you can touch the history. Fantastic panorama but if you afraid of high, some places to avoid. My family loved it.
tom hooper (2 years ago)
Amazing place. I preferred this place to the main palace. There is better views then the palace but there is more walking and climbing to do around the castle.
Mark McConachie (2 years ago)
Wonderful ancient castle set high atop a hill above the town. Be aware that although it's on 1km out of town, it is a steep and fairly brutal path to get there. There's no castle interior as such, just the walls and ramparts to explore. The views across the countryside are fabulous, and you get a view of Pena Palace on the next hill. Recommended.
Antoni Szymczak (2 years ago)
Amazing views, ancient castle ruins - a must see when you're in Lisbon - no other place can give you this magnificent panorama. Highly recommended, but be careful, watch your steps - very steep, no barriers at times. Older people might find it too challenging.
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