Sintra, named after the moon goddess by the Moors, is veritably called the ‘Fairytale Village’ The place is full of fantasy-like castles and palaces, which has enchanted many folks. Anywhere else these structures would be showstoppers but in Sintra, we’re just getting started. Given its fantastical landscape, it was chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the effort to keep this post short :-) we decided to divulge some information that we found about 3 most impressive sites in Sintra:
Pena National Palace
This spectacular building rises out of the foggy hills just beyond Sintra city limits, and with the color-scheme of a Lego set. Formerly a refuge of monastic silence, the site received a royal makeover in the mid-1800s when King Ferdinand and Queen Maria II decided it would make a lovely summer retreat. The result would be an architectural mash-up of Islamic, Gothic, and neo-Renaissance styles with domes, parapets and vaulted arches arranged in dazzling juxtaposition. The royal family, though, only enjoyed it for a few decades before the Portuguese state bought the palace in 1889. It is still used for occasional high-level government meetings, but the most frequent visitors are tourists.
The Islamic Castle And Fortress Walls
Often called the Moorish castle, this incredible fortress was constructed around 1,300 years ago, possibly on the site of an older stronghold built by the Visigoths. For a couple hundred years, the castle passed back-and-forth between Iberia’s Islamic and Christian rulers as the faiths battled for control of the peninsula. The impressive fortress walls wind up and down the hillsides, and on less foggy days offer spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. They also, in certain angles, look a bit like Great Wall of China.
The Monserrate Estate
Built by a wealthy British trader at the end of the 18th century, the stunning Monserrate palace and gardens were inspired by the architectural wonders of India. The architects combined Indian design with North African and Iberian Islamic concepts as well as European influences to produce the incredible building and its surrounding botanical gardens. The poet Lord Byron vacationed here in 1809 and would declare,
“Lo! Cintra’s glorious Eden intervenes In variegated maze of mount and glen. Ah me! What hand can pencil guide, or pen, To follow half on which the eye dilates Through views more dazzling unto mortal ken Than those whereof such things the bard relates, Who to the awe-stuck world unlocked Elysium’s gates?”
So when in Sintra, be sure to check out these experiences. If you rather check these awesome sites with a local then look no further since MYrago has you covered. Check out the following links for your SIntra experience with a local:
Do let us know about your favorite moments/sites in Sintra in the comments below!