Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle), Sintra

Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle), Sintra (must see)

The Moorish Castle was built in the 8th and 9th centuries as a fortification of Muslim Iberia. In 1147, when Lisbon was captured by the army of Afonso Henriques, the castle surrendered to the Christian forces. Afonso established the Chapel of San Pedro within the fortress.

In 1375 King Ferdinand I restored the castle and strengthened the fortifications. By the 16th century the military effectiveness of the castle had waned. The inhabitants had abandoned the fortress for the village of Sintra. In 1755 the Lisbon earthquake nearly destroyed the chapel and made the castle unstable.

By 1838 the towers and walls of the castle were in ruins. Then Ferdinand II came to the rescue. He refurbished and improved the castle as he was restoring the neighboring monastery and building the Pena Palace. He consolidated the walls, reforested open areas and restored the chapel.

The castle consists of a double line of crenelated stone walls weaving their way the granite hills of the promontory. The towers are much changed from their original size and appearance. Nonetheless, the layout of the turrets follow the design engravings of Book of Fortresses from 1509.

Nearby the Castle are many other historical sites, including The Garden of Pena, the Estate of Pena Verde, and the Quinte da Regaleira. The Castle now is a Romantic ruin and a tourist magnet, especially for those hearty souls who don't mind a lot of hiking over granite outcroppings.

The chapel has a rectangular nave. lies outside the secondary wall of the fortress, near the entrance. The south wall has an arched doorway with colonnades with fantasy animal motifs. On the north side is a triumphal arch on double columns. There is a cradle vault with vestigial frescoes and a frieze with geometric designs.

The castle is classified as a National Monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Sintra. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle) on Map

Sight Name: Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle)
Sight Location: Sintra, Portugal (See walking tours in Sintra)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Sintra, Portugal

Create Your Own Walk in Sintra

Create Your Own Walk in Sintra

Creating your own self-guided walk in Sintra is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Sintra Introduction Walking Tour

Sintra Introduction Walking Tour

Traces of humanity in Sintra date back to Paleolithic times. At an open air site near the church of Sao Pedro de Canaferrim and the Moorish Castle there were found ceramics from 5,000 BC. The name Sintra is indo-European. It means "bright star" or "sun." Romans called the place "sacred mountain." Ptolemy called it "mountains of the moon."

In 1147 the...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Pena Palace and Moorish Castle Tour

Pena Palace and Moorish Castle Tour

A charming little township on the outskirts of Lisbon, Sintra is a place where there's something for everyone. As if straight out of a fairy tale, this area is a home to several magnificent castles, palaces and gardens, the grandiosity of which fits for a king; and it has been a firm favorite of Portuguese royals since the late 15th century.

The diversity of styles found here is rich –...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles