Visit: Palacio Nacional de Sintra, Largo Rainha Dona Amelia, Sintra 2710-616 Portugal
Of all the palaces built by the Portuguese monarchs throughout the Middle Ages, only the palace of Sintra has survived to the present day virtually intact, still maintaining the same essential features of its shape and outline since the mid-16th century. The main building campaigns that took place after the Christian Reconquest in the 12th century were sponsored by the kings Dinis, João I and Manuel I, between the end of the 13th century and the mid-16th century. These campaigns consisted of adaptations, enlargements and general improvement works that have given the palace its present-day appearance.
The thousand-year-old history of the Palace of the Town of Sintra began during the Muslim occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. Already mentioned in texts from the 11th century, the original Moorish Palace became the property of the Portuguese Crown after the conquest of the city of Lisbon by Afonso Henriques, the first King of Portugal, in 1147. It was first subjected to alteration work in 1281, in the reign of King Dinis, and new extensions were later added to the building over time, in the reigns of the kings Dinis, João I and Manuel I, although it has largely maintained its present-day outline since the mid-16th century. The vertical arrangement of its spaces, adapting to the nature of the terrain; the intimate organisation of the interior courtyards, outdoor spaces in which one can hear the sound of running water; the windows with their surmounted arches; and the walls covered in glazed tiles with rich geometrical patterns, are all features that underline the Moorish links of the craftsmen who built and embellished the Palace.
Visit: Inside Lisbon Tours, Campo Pequeno 48 6º Dir., Lisbon 1000-081 Portugal