Located on a hilltop in the lush forests of Sintra, Portugal, lies the enchanting Moors Castle. With its grand walls and breathtaking views, the Moors Castle is a reflection of the rich history of Sintra’s past. Let’s take a look at the history of the Moors Castle, its architecture, and what you can expect when visiting.
The Moors Castle boasts a fascinating history that dates back to the 8th century. Originally constructed by the Moors, a Muslim community that ruled over the Iberian Peninsula, the castle served as a strategic fortress during their occupation of the region. Situated in Sintra, a location blessed with logistical advantages and natural defenses, the castle played a vital role as a stronghold, allowing the Moors to oversee and safeguard the surrounding lands.
In the 12th century, King Afonso Henriques led Christian forces in the Reconquista, a period characterized by Christian kingdoms reclaiming territories held by the Moors. Sintra was no exception, and in 1147, the castle was captured by the Christians. King Afonso Henriques’ triumph marked a significant milestone in Portuguese history, leading to the establishment of the independent Kingdom of Portugal.
Throughout the centuries, the Moors Castle underwent various alterations and renovations, adapting to the changing demands of each era. Despite enduring numerous sieges and battles, the castle managed to preserve its essence and character.
The architecture of the Moors Castle combines Islamic and medieval European influences in a remarkable way, reflecting the blending of cultures during the Moorish rule. Constructed mainly with stone and featuring intricate masonry, the castle’s design showcases both beauty and practicality.
Situated strategically on a hill, the fortress offers a favorable position for observing the surrounding landscape. Its strong walls, adorned with impressive towers, reveal the defensive capabilities of the Moors. From the castle, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of Sintra’s picturesque countryside, the distant Atlantic Ocean, and even the nearby Pena Palace.
Inside the castle, there are winding pathways to explore, hidden chambers to discover, and a remarkable cistern to admire. The cistern, a large water reservoir, played a crucial role in supplying water to the castle’s inhabitants during sieges. Its architectural features, such as the vaulted ceiling and clever water collection system, showcase the ingenuity and engineering skills of the Moors.
Visiting Times & Tickets
The castle is open between 9 am and 6:30 pm. Tickets cost:
- Adult (18 – 64 years) €8
- Youth (6 – 17 years) €6.50
- Senior (65+) €6.50
- Family (2 Adults + 2 Youths) €26