Cultural Landscape of Sintra
The Cultural Landscape of Sintra is located in Portugal’s central region, at the extreme west of the Iberian Peninsula and a few kilometres away from the Atlantic Ocean. Only 30 minutes far from Lisbon, this Cultural Landscape is an exceptional mixture of natural and cultural sites within a distinct framework.
Seen from a distance, it gives the impression of an essentially natural landscape that is distinct from its surroundings: a small chain of forested granite mountains rising over the hilly rural landscape.
When seen from closer at hand, the Serra reveals a surprisingly rich cultural evidence spanning over several centuries of Portugal's history.
In the 19th century Sintra became the first centre of European Romantic architecture. Ferdinand II turned a ruined monastery into a castle where this new sensitivity was displayed in the use of Gothic, Egyptian, Moorish and Renaissance elements and in the creation of a park blending local and exotic species of trees.
Other fine dwellings, built along the same lines in the surrounding serra , created a unique combination of parks and gardens which influenced the development of landscape architecture throughout Europe.
Sintra is chock-filled with UNESCO World Heritage sites (in fact, Sintra as a whole is a UNESCO World Heritage site) so you’ll have no shortage of amazing sights to see here.
The Pena Palace, high on a peak in the Serra, is a work of pure Romanticism, designed by the Portuguese architect Possidónio da Silva. Ferdinand II conversion of the medieval monastery, which was abandoned after the 1755 earthquake reduced it to ruins, is eclectic in its use of Egyptian, Moorish, Gothic and Renaissance elements to produce an ensemble that is a pure expression of the Romantic Movement. Within the 19th century Palace are the church, cloister, and refectory of the 16th century monastery, richly decorated with azulejos.
The Palace of Monserrate was designed for Sir Francis Cook by the distinguished British architect James Knowles Junior. Again, it is an example of mid-19th century eclecticism, adapted to the remains of the earlier building, also ruined in the 1755 earthquake. lt combines neo-Gothicism with substantial elements derived from the architecture of lndia. Monserrate is renowned for its gardens, largely the work of Thomas Gargill: careful analysis of the microclimatic zones of the land made it possible to plant over 3000 exotic species, collected from all parts of the world.
The Palace of Ribafrias, with its chapel, is in the centre of the town and was built in 1514 by the Royal Great Chamberlain, Gaspar Gonçalves. lts original rather severe lines have been softened by subsequent alterations, such as the insertion of Manueline and Pombaline windows into the facade.
The Moorish Castle, high on a peak of the Serra, might be of Visigothic origin; it was certainly used in the 9th century, during the Moorish occupation. lt was finally abandoned with the successful Reconquista of Portugal from the Moors. Now in ruins, the remains of its barbican, keep and walls vividly illustrate the problems of constructing a fortress on a rocky outcrop of this kind.
The Trinity Convent of the Arrabalde was founded by a group of monks from the Trinity Convent in Lisbon in 1374 in a quiet valley of the Serra. Their primitive hermitage was replaced by the first monastery in 1400 and reconstructed a century later. Following severe damage in the 1755 earthquake, much of it had to be rebuilt. The present small cloister dates from 1570 and the church largely from the late 18th century. lt has retained the tranquillity that attracted the first monastic community to this site.
The Church of Santa Maria, with its three naves, represents the transition between Romanesque and Gothic of the mid-12th century. The facade and tower are from 1757.
Other churches in the town are the Sao Martinho and Sao Miguel parish churches (mainly post-1755), the former Sao Pedro de Canaferrim parish church inside the Moorish castle (12th century) and the Church of Nossa Senhora da Misericórdia (17th-18th centuries).
Major landmarks such as the Pena Castle, the Moorish Castle, the Church of São Pedro, Penha Verde, the Cruz Alta, and Palace of Seteais interact with one another and with the landscape; they have been restored earlier and have an authentic raison d’être with surprising views which differ from every angle.
The Cultural Landscape of Sintra is part of the National Natural Park of Sintra - Cascais and has been protected by national legislation since 1994. Within its perimeter, there are numerous buildings classified as National Monuments - the highest level of legal protection - or Buildings with Public Interest, all of which are protected by specific Portuguese legislation introduced by the Ministry of Culture. The whole World Heritage property is classified as a National Monument as well.
Sintra private tours all inclusive
You HAVE to visit Sintra when you’re in Lisbon! A trip to Lisbon is absolutely incomplete without popping into Sintra. At a push, it is very possible to see the main sights in Sintra in one day but to fully appreciate it, we highly recommend spending at least two days here so you can take in the sights at a more leisurely (and enjoyable pace).
Contact TribosTours for more information or to reserve today your Sintra private tour all inclusive !