by Erin Elaine
Sintra is a small town about 45 minutes away from Lisbon by train. The entire town is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its natural beauty and the multiple historical sites located here.
The first one I visited was the Sintra National Palace in the center of town.
The Initiation Well – This is an inverted tower that leads down underground. The spiral staircase is composed of 9 different layers, simulating the 9 circles of hell from “Dante’s Inferno”. The well is meant to be a link between heaven and the underworld. The emotions evoked while descending are contrasted with the emotions evoked while ascending back up to the surface.
I really enjoyed seeing this well. It is very beautiful and so unique. There’s nothing quite like it.
The next place I visited was the Moorish Castle. It was built around the year 1000, meaning it is 1000+ years old and it had already been standing for 600 years before Jamestown started. Pretty amazing to think about how old things are in Europe.
This castle is wayyyy up at the top of a very high hill. It’s completely isolated and mysterious. I was nearly completely alone when I was up there, with only the sound of the wind and the sight of the fog shifting around to keep me company. It was very calming and also a little haunting. Normally there is an amazing view of Sintra from this castle, but it was foggy when I visited. I didn’t really mind though, because it was very beautiful. I think the fog adds some mystery to the photos.
The last place I visited was Pena Palace, built in the 1840s as a pet project of King Ferdinand. This palace was essentially just for looks, it didn’t serve a strategic purpose. The loud, bright colors of the exterior make that pretty clear.
Sintra was a fascinating place to see, and it was so nice to get out of the city and see some nature. Anyone going to Lisbon should definitely make Sintra a priority. There were a few other sites in Sintra that I didn’t even have time to see, so these pictures don’t show all Sintra has to offer. The town itself is also very cute.