About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Today we are heading to the town of Sintra.  It's located north of Lisbon, in a region near Cascais, but inland. 

Sintra sits in an area of lush woods and valleys that have been inhabited since preshistoric times.  The Moors were the first to build a castle in this area.  Later, Sintra became the summer residence of Portugese kings.  It's medeval palace sit in the heart of Sintra as a reminder to these times.  The area has been popular with poets and writers, including Lord Byron and Robert Southey.  Today Sintra's importance is recognized by UNESCO, which designated it a World Heritage site in 1995

Waiting for the train in Lisbon

Our train arrives

Beautiful station in Sintra

Beautiful architecture of City Hall

City Hall

The walk from the train station to the old city center is lined with art

Palacio Nacional de Sintra

Brandon has horns!

More art as we approached the palace

We passed this spring along the road. 

Palacio Nacional de Sintra, with its twin white chimneys, is the town's most recognizable landmark.  Under those chimneys, meats and other feasts were cooked for Joao I.  There has been a palace on this site since Moorish times, although the current palace only dates back to the later 14th century.  It is Portugals only surviving palace from the Middle Ages. 

The interior is a mix of Moorish, Gothic and Manueline architectural styles.  The kitchen, with its famous chimneys due to its sheer size.  It's still used to official banquets today.  

Front side and entrance to the palace

Sala dos Cisnes, it's ceiling painted with Swans

Inner courtyard

Mosaics on the walls

The ceiling of the Sala das Pegas.  The king had the room painted with as many magpies as their were chattering court ladies, satirizing the gossips as loose-tongued birds

On the middle right side you can see the Atlantic Ocean. 

The ceiling in the Sala das Armas is painted with 72 the coats of arms of 72 noble families

The walls are tiled with scenes of outdoor living - mostly hunting

Chamber of King Dinas, dating from the beginning of the 14th century.

The chapel has Mozarabic (Moorish influenced) decor from the 15th and 16th centuries

More tile work

Brandon points out parts of the kitchen

The palace was very interesting. With its Moorish influence, it was different than all the other palaces we have visited.

After leaving the palace, we went to lunch, followed by some wandering around the narrow streets of town. Katrina wanted to visit an art museum in the downtown of modern Sintra, so we walked her there. Brandon and I had intended to ride the trolley line that takes visitors on the 45 minute ride down to the ocean and back, but it was closed for off season repairs.

Trains...always love trains!
We caught the train back to Lisbon just as it was getting dark. Another fine day in Portugal. Tomorrow we will visit the Belem district.

No comments:

Post a Comment