Queen of the Castle
An archaeologist unearths the divine feminine, one archetype at a time...
Lord Byron was inspired to write about Sintra's beauty
"Lo! Cintra's glorious Eden intervenes
In variegated maze of mount and glen.
Ah me! what hand can pencil guide, or pen,
To follow half on which the eye dilates
Through views more dazzling unto mortal ken
Than those whereof such things the bard relates,
Who to the awe-struck world unlocked Elysium's gates?"
The moon goddess Cynthia was worshipped at this site during the Roman period, which may be the root of the name Sintra.
After an apparition of the Virgin Mary in the Middle Ages at the site, a chapel was built on the hill above town.
A monastery was constructed on the site in the 15th century which was damaged in the massive earthquake of 1755. King Ferdinand II was so entranced by the ruins of the area that he ordered the construction of a royal palace on the site. Commissioned in the 19th century by a German architect in the Romantic era style, it incorporates a vast array of styles, including Islamic and Medieval elements
resulting in the fairy-tale collection of turrets, spires and crenelated walls that dominate the landscape.
You enter through a doorway topped by a fantastic creature - a newt - symbolizing the creation of the world.
The details are exquisite
Legend has it that Queen Amalia spent her last night at the castle before being sent into exile. I imagined in the remaining hours of her reign she looked out over the forests and grounds below, taking in her last views of the gardens she so lovingly tended to.