The Castle of the Moors dates back to the Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, in the 8th century.
In 1147, the Castle was definitively conquered from the Moors by Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal. Seven years later, in 1154, Afonso Henriques granted the Foral charter to the town of Sintra in order to promote its popularization. That population would help to defend the Castle.
Under his orders, the “Igreja de São Pedro de Canaferrim” (Church of Saint Peter of Canaferrim) was built next to the Castle. This church was used as a center of religious activities until the 15th century, when the castle had already lost its military importance.
The Castle and the Church were severely damaged during the Lisbon Earthquake of 1755. They were already in ruins when the King Consort D. Fernando II, in 1839, ordered it to be restored. The walls were consolidated, the castle area was reforested, paths between the castle and the town were created and an ossuary was built to collect the bones discovered during the renovation of the Castle.
The Castle nowadays
Located on a high hill overlooking Sintra, the Castle of the Moors offers breathtaking views of the town, of the Pena Palace and of the cities and towns around Sintra, such as Lisbon. The walls we find nowadays are the result of the restoration performed in the 19th century, only its base belongs to the original construction.
Along the perimeter of the Castle you can find some silos which are dug in the rock and date back to the Muslim occupation. These were used to store food and supplies. You also find the ruins of the Church of Saint Peter of Canaferrim. On the actual fortification area you can find the moorish cistern, which was used to collect rain water, the Royal Tower, which is the highest point of the Castle, and the traitor’s door, a gate that may have been used as an escape route for the castle occupants in times of siege.
16 October to 31 March: 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. (last admission at 5.00 p.m.)
1 April to 15 October: 09.30 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. (last admission at 7.00 p.m.)
Closed: 1 January and 25 December
Scotturb bus 434