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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User Reviews

Tiffany Giese (2 years ago)
We loved spending a couple of hours climbing the walls of the old castle. It is a workout but the views are spectacular. It was very windy the day we were there, late June, so you may want to take a jacket and something to contain long hair. The entrance was 8€ each for us. There were pretty nice views of Pena Palace from one of the watchtowers.
James Zhang (2 years ago)
Amazing castle with breathtaking views. Make sure to hike both sides of the wall. The left side is higher and has great views of the coast and Pena Palace. Some areas do not have railings and will have to be careful if crowded.
Andrew Hubbard (2 years ago)
Incredible 8th century medieval castle on a high hilltop. Spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The parapet walk is amazing with its granite blocks interlinking boulders and cliffs as it snakes across the hillside. A must do on a trip to Sintra. A wonderful experience.
Todd B (2 years ago)
Definitely worth doing, but there isn't an actual castle there. It's a long wall with a few towers. The path gets narrow in places and it is a heck of a climb to the top. The views are amazing.
Ivan Filipov (2 years ago)
Breathtaking view, worth the admission ticket. Can be really windy! The hiking trail can be tricky as there are parts with mud, but really a rewarding experience - the surrounding greenery is like a heaven on earth.
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