The coastal settlement of Cascais originated in the 12th century, depending administratively on the town of Sintra, located to the north. In its humble beginnings, Cascais lived from the products of the sea and land, but by the 13th century, its fish production served the capital Lisbon, located nearby. During the 14th century, the population increased to the outside of the walls of its castle. Its prosperity led to the administrative independence from Sintra in 1364. This statue is Cascais' version of the Monument to the Discoveries, which commemorates Portugal's early sea-faring heritage.
Originally, the Castle of Sintra was built by the Moors, possibly between the 9th and 10th centuries. Arab chronicles depict the Sintra region as being very rich in cultivated fields. Its castle was one of the most important in the surroundings and served as an excellent observation point for monitoring the coast as you can see in the picture above. In 1109, the castle became subject to an attack by crusading Norwegians, led by King Sigurd I, on their way to the Holy Land. Every man at the castle was said to have been killed as they had refused to become christened.
We took a day trip to Sintra to see the town, the Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle. The old town of Sintra is dominated by the Palácio Nacional de Sintra, which can be seen from far away at its gigantic conical chimneys. In the course of the centuries this popular summer residence of the kings got several rebuilding and modifications, so that today it consists of a mixture of different architectural styles.