Sintra is a town and a municipality, north west of Lisbon. Evidence of it’s early occupants, the Moors, can still be seen today, the Moorish Castle, built around the 10th century, sits on one of Sinatra’s hills. In 1995 UNESCO awarded the town World Heritage status.
The short walk from the train station to the town centre takes one past the town hall, and along Volta Duche, where contemporary art works are dotted along the path. There is a small wall on the path, which makes a perfect place to set up items for sale, I particularly like this gentleman, who was playing one of his albums on a record player, that must be at least forty years old.
In the centre of Sintra is The Palácio Nacional de Sintra, (National Palace) a medieval palace with origins as far back as the 9th century. It became the official residence of Portuguese royal family from the 14th century with King João I. Refurbishments undertaken over time have added Gothic and Manueline, to Moorish architectural styles. The huge multi-room building has distinctive, twin conical chimneys, 33 meters high, which were added in the early 14th century, as part of the kitchen improvements.
Swans Hall is the largest of the palace’s rooms, named after the swans painted on the ceiling. The magpie room also gets it’s name from the birds painted on the ceiling. The palace also has one of the largest collections of Mudejár, Moorish Iberian Tiles, in the world.
The Coat of Arms room has the coats of arms of 72 Portuguese noble families, painted on the domed ceiling, initiated by King Manuel I, who wanted to regulate their use.
The Palatine Chapel, has freso paintings depicting the holy spirit as doves carrying olive branches.