Castle of The Moors, Sintra, Portugal

The Castle of the Moors sits on the highest hilltop overlooking the UNESCO world heritage town of Sintra in Portugal. Built between the 7th and 9th centuries during the Moors occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, the 450 metres of defensive wall show the strategic importance of this site. The Castle remained in the hands of the Moorish forces until 1147 when the conquest of Lisbon led by forces loyal to Afonso Henriques laid siege to the fortification, the castle eventually surrendered to the Christian army. The structure was inhabited by the settlers and in the second half of the 12th century and a chapel was built within the walls. Despite the efforts of King Ferdinand I in rebuilding the castle it continued to fall into decline as the settlers moved downhill to the village of Sintra. By the early 16th century the chapel was only being used by a small Jewish community until their expulsion bu Manuel I. This was the last time the castle was occupied. Since then there has been a lot of damage to the castle and an earthquake in Lisbon in 1755 sped up its decay. 

The Castle of the Moors is a beautiful site, the trek up to it is not for the faint-hearted. It was incredibly windy on the day of my visit and I had to work on keeping my fear of heights at bay! 

GPS: 38.79254, -9.38934

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