The Castle of the Moors, on the hilltops of Sintra The arabesque Monserrate Estate on another hilltop near the town of Sintra The earliest remnants of human occupation were discovered in Penha Verde: Ceramic fragments found locally including many late Chalcolithic vases from the Sintra mountains suggest that between the fourth and third millennia B.
The most famous object from this period is the so-called Sintra Collar , a middle Bonze Age gold neck-ring found near the city at the end of the nineteenth century, which since has been part of the British Museum 's collection.
The toponym Sintra derives from the medieval Suntria, and points to an association with radical Indo-European cultures; the word translates into bright star or sun, commonly significant in those cultures. The various residents of the region were considered part of the Roman Galeria and in the present village of Sintra there are Roman remains testifying to a Roman presence from the 1st-2nd century B.
A roadway along the southeast part of the Sintra Mountains and connected to the main road to Olissipo dates from this period. It was during the Moorish occupation of Sintra Arabic: A description by the geographer Al-Bacr, described Sintra as "one of the towns that [are] dependent on Lisbon in Al-Andalus , in proximity to the sea", characterizing it as "permanently submersed in a fog that never dissipates". Afonso took the cities and the castle of Sintra between 30 April and 8 May , but shortly after their transfer Sintra and Lisbon were conquered by the Almoravid.
Sigurd's forces disembarked at the mouth of the Colares River but failed to take the castle. It was only after the conquest of Lisbon , in October , by Afonso Henriques supported by Crusaders , that the castle surrendered in November. The charter established the municipality of Sintra, whose territory encompassed a large area, eventually divided into four great parishes: This community was not limited to Sintra town: There are municipal records from this period of a number of donations and grants; between and , Afonso Henriques donated to the master of the Knights Templar , Gualdim Pais , various houses and estates in the centre of Sintra.
The military Order of Santiago owned an estate in Arrifana in Later, these lands were transferred to the young Infante Afonso later King Afonso IV , and remained in his possession until , before reverting to the ownership of the queen Portuguese: Far greater numbers of deaths probably resulted, perhaps owing to the cool climate and humidity, conditions that favoured the rapid spread of the disease.
In , the King donated Sintra to the Lady Telles, whom he eventually married in secret in the north of the country. Probably around , John I granted the lands of Sintra to Count Henrique Manuel de Vilhena, quickly revoking the decision after Henrique took the Infanta's side during the dynastic quarrel. Sintra, therefore, continued as a possession of the King, who expanded the local estate. Until the end of the 17th century, the royal palace constituted one of the principal residences and summer estates of the court: He explored the region near the Ouro River and eventually died there in In the second half of the 16th century, Sintra was a centre for courtesans and members of the aristocracy began building estates and farms within the region.
The Renaissance poet Luisa Sigea—Syntrae Aloisiae Sygeae in Paris and Madrid referred to Sintra as a "pleasant valley, between cliffs that rise into the heavens Following the decision of the Cortes of Tomar in , Phillip as King of Portugal accepted an administration composed of the Portuguese aristocracy.
He passed through Sintra around October , visiting the monasteries and churches. The Sebastian adventure ended with the hanging of thirty people and the suffering of many more. During this union — , Sintra was a privileged place for Portuguese "exiles" from the Castilian court; nobles who wished to distance themselves from Spanish nobility would purchase lands in the region, away from court intrigue.
Brigantine era[ edit ] The war with Spain — , the affirmation of Mafra during the reign of John V of Portugal — through the construction of the Palace-Convent , and later the construction of Royal Palace of Queluz in during the reigns of Joseph I — and Maria I — , helped diminish royal visits to the region.
But it remained a place of myths, with a large, mysterious forest and macabre, gloomy spaces. Sebastian was free from these fears, that he would walk at night, through it, many times for two or three hours. Also in the 18th century, the first industrial building was established in the town: The visit of Queen Maria I in brought about the restoration and redecoration of a few salons and chambers in the municipal buildings. In the summer of , William Beckford stayed with the Marquis of Marialva, master of the horse for the kingdom, at his residence of Seteais.
Between and , Gerard Devisme constructed a Neo-Gothic mansion on his extensive estate in the Quinta de Monserrate later known as the Monserrate Palace.
Beckford, who remained in Sintra, rented the property from Devisme in The landscape, covered in fog, also attracted another Englishman, Sir Francis Cook , who occupied the estate, constructing an oriental pavilion.
The Palace was built over the remains of the 16th-century monastery of the Order of Saint Jerome, conserving many fundamental aspects, including the church, cloister and a few dependencies. The architecture is eclectic, influenced by many architectural styles. After Sintra, the monarchs Louis of Portugal and Carlos of Portugal ended their summers with visits to Cascais in the months of September and October. In , the first contract was signed to construct a rail link between Sintra and Lisbon.
A decree signed on 26 June regulated the contract between the government and Count Claranges Lucotte but was later rescinded in The connection was finally inaugurated on 2 April By the beginning of the 20th century, Sintra was recognized as a summer resort visited by aristocrats and millionaires. From the second half of the 19th century into the first decades of the 20th century, Sintra also became a privileged place for artists: Economic development was now promoted; the potential benefits to the region of growth in agriculture, industry and commerce were promoted to foster development.
In a wine growing zone had been demarcated in Colares. Now a commission was established to monitor the quality of wines and promote their exportation, and in a commercial association Portuguese: The first decades of the 20th century were the time of the fastest urbanization of the town, supported by its rail link to Lisbon and the influx of summer travellers.
Damage to culturally important sites led during the s to the creation of institutions to study and protect the vast artistic heritage. These projects benefited town and region, increased tourism and attracted as residents many notable Portuguese: The sedimentary formations, until the beginning of the Upper Cretaceous, are deformed by the intrusion which limits the MES to the end the Cretaceous. Consequently, the massif likely became exposed during the Paleogenic epoch 30 million years ago , known as the Benfica Complex.
Although the climate in the area of Cabo da Roca is semi-arid, the Sintra Mountains are considered moderately humid: The position of the town in the natural landscape of the Sintra Mountains consisting of an exuberant natural patrimony , is influenced by the existence of a micro-climate.
Due to its micro-climate, a huge park has developed full of dense foliage with a rich botanical diversity. Beach in Azenhas do Mar, Sintra The temperate climate and humidity resulting from proximity to the coast favour the growth of a rich mat of forest includong Atlantic and Mediterranean species, marking the transition in Portugal from northern to southern vegetation. The Pyrenean oak Quercus pyrenaica predominates over great expanses of the rocky heights and sheltered slopes.
On moist shady slopes, normally facing north, or in sheltered places, the common oak Quercus robur is widespread. In lowland areas and warm places the Cork oak Quercus suber is common and in limestone areas the Portuguese oak Quercus faginea is found. Other species scattered throughout the mountains of Sintra include: In the valleys, near watercourses, grow Narrow-leaf ash Fraxinus angustifolia , Grey willow Salix atrocinerea , European alder Alnus glutinosa , Alder buckthorn Rhamnus frangula and Black Elderberry Sambucus nigra.
Since , the Sintra Mountains have been affected by fires that have destroyed a major part of the original forest, which has been substituted by acacia and other fast-growing exotic species.