Our group did a day trip to Sintra. Sintra is known for its many 19th-century architectural monuments, which has resulted in its classification as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town has become a major tourist centre especially since it is so close to Lisbon. In addition to the Sintra Mountains and Sintra-Cascais Nature Park, we saw many royal retreats, estates, and castles.
Our first stop of the day was the Convent of the Frairs Minor Capuchin, otherwise known as the Convent of the Capuchos, located in the municipality of Sintra. The convent was founded in 1560, consisting of eight monks. In the first half of the 20th century, the site was acquired by the State but very little was done until the middle of the century. In the 1950's a series of public projects were started to preserve the site. The convent became part of the Cultural Landscape of Sintra World Heritage Site, classified by UNESCO in 1995. In June 2001, the convent was re-opened to the public.
The minimalist convent was erected in perfect harmony with its surroundings, implanted in the rocks and boulders that formed this part of the Sintra mountains.
Inside of the convent. The whole building was very small and the windows and doors were coated with cork. The decorations were scarce and very minimum.
There was a lot of natural colour in the convent. The cooking utensils. In 1889, the convent was described as "situated in the centre of a sad solitude, encircled by a dryness and whipped by gales... this small monastery, open to the rocks and containing a dozen cells, in which can barely move the disgraceful inhabitants".
It was very dark inside but there were great colours. I did some post-processing to bring up the shadows. There was some light that was coming in through the small windows.
|I seemed to have photographed a lot of doors.|
Inside one of the cells. The Convent became a pious community of reclusive clergy who occupied cramped and dismal spaces in the complex, until the religious orders were abolished in Portugal, in 1834.
On the way out I took a photo of a window from outside of the building.
A group of students arriving for a tour. Fortunately we arrived at the convent early before it got crowded. It was difficult enough walking in the small spaces with just the people in my group.
The Pina National Palace stands on the top of a hill above the town of Sintra. It is a national monument and constitutes one of the major expressions of the 19th century Romanticism in the world. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the seven wonders of Portugal. The colours were beautiful. Over time the colours of the red and yellow facade faded, and for many years the palace was visually identified as being entirely grey. By the end of the 20th century the palace was reappointed and the original colours restored.
When I first saw the Palace I was reminded of the Magic Kingdom in Disney World . The palace was the summer residence of the monarchs of Portugal during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Looking at the view of the town of Sintra and another castle.
Forests surrounded the castle area.
Eventually we made our walk to the town of Sintra and just wandered around the streets.
This was one crowded, touristy spot. Sintra has become a major tourist centre, visited by many-day-trippers who travel from the centre and suburbs of the Lisbon. I left the main square area as soon as we finished lunch.
I wandered away from the main tourist areas. As usual, once you walk far enough away from the centre there are far less people. It was more interesting when I got away from the tourist shops and walked in the streets where the people were living.
The gardens in one of the town's parks.
One of the views of the town.
An old stair case I came across.
On the way back to our hotel in Queluz, we stopped off at the Coast for a short walk. The Estoril Coast has beautiful big sandy beaches. The Prala do Guincho (Guincho Beach) is popular for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. The area is known for its strong winds in the summer months and the day we were there was no exception. This beach was featured in the pre-titles sequence of the James Bond film (On Her Majesty's Service) and the beach still looks the same as it did in 1969.
A closer view of the fisherman. Next up, our last day in Portugal.