I had seen a watchtower high above the town when I was still in Sintra itself. After an extensive visit to the National Palace of Pena, I walked through the lush park, enjoying the protection of the leaves from the hot summer sun, and worked my way towards the Castle of Sintra, or Castelo dos Mouros or Moorish Castle. While there are some Moorish elements in the Palace of Pena, the Moorish Castle was actually built by the Moors, in the 8th or 9th century. It is easy to see why: still now, the walls of the castle dominate the hill and offer control over the surrounding areas.
As I approached the entrance of the Moorish Castle over an easy path through the woody surroundings, I came across several smaller sites which had been constructed by the Moors, as well as less old buildings like a small chapel, built dy Afonso Henriques, after he conquered the castle from the Moors in 1147. A little higher up, I went through the arch gate to reach the castle grounds. Right there, I saw the cistern where water was kept in times of sieges. There is not so much else left, apart from the defensive walls and the watchtowers.
I headed to the edge of the hill, and soon reached the defensive wall. Still standing strong, the wall actually runs around the edge of the hill for protection, and there is a pathway inside that allowed the former inhabitants to defend the castle against any intruders, and the current visitor to walk along the wall for views of the surrouding area and marvel at the construction itself. As I walked up the stairs, walking from watchtower to watchtower, the memory of walking the Chinese wall came back to me. At the highest point, I sat down to enjoy the sun and the views on top of the watchtower, with a great view over the Palace of Pena, and the wall of the Moorish Castle running down the hill between boulders of rock.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Moorish Castle (Portugal). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Moorish Castle.
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