SINTRA: LAND OF CONTRASTS

Sintra is a portuguese town located in the District of Lisbon, in the region of Lisbon, sub-region of Grand Lisboa and metropolitan area of Lisbon. It is head office of a county with a 317 km² área and 377 835 inhabitants (2011), subdivided into 20 parishes. The county is bordered on the north with the county of Mafra, on the east with Loures and Odivelas, on the south-east with Amadora, on the south with Oeiras and Cascais and on the west with the Atlantic Ocean. The Town of Sintra is part of the Cultural Landscape of Sintra, UNESCO World Patrimony and has refused a promotion to the status of City, although it’s the second most populated county in Portugal, according to the Town Council.

HISTORY

 

In Sintra, it is possible to find evidence of practically all epochs of portuguese history and, not rarely, with a dimension that has sometimes surpassed, in its importance, the boundaries of this territory. In the appliance of Sintra for promotion to World Patrimony/Cultural Landscape on UNESCO, there was concern in classifying an area that was stated itself as a cultural and ambiental context of specific characteristics: a cultural unit that remains intact through a range of palaces and parks, of manors and inherent gardens and woods, of chalets and small palaces amidst lush vegetation, of long walled trails crowning the highest peaks of the mountain range. Also a range of monasteries of meditation in between cliffs, woods and fountains of churches, chapels and hermitages, archaic centres of faith and art; an intact cultural unity in a range of archeological traces that indicate foreign occupations that were several times millenar.

GEOGRAPHY & CLIMATE

 

Its highest point is 528 meters of altitude. In terms of nature, architecture and human occupation, Sintra shows unique unity, resulting from different connected motives, among which is the constitution of the Mountain Range of Sintra itself and the fertility of its land in the surrounding valleys. The relative proximity of the estuary of the river Tejo, and – from given time – the neighboorhood of Lisbon cosmopolitan city and emporium of various trade, made Sintra a very populated area. In the coastal área of the parish of Colares, in the county of Sintra, is located Cabo da Roca. Located 140 meters above sea level, with the following geographical coordinates: N 38º47', W 9º30' it’s the westernmost place of the european continent. Or, as Luís de Camões wrote, it’s the place “where land is ended and sea begins”.

PARISHES IN SINTRA
 
  • Algueirão – Mem Martins

  • Casal de Cambra

  • Colares

  • Rio de Mouro

  • União das Freguesias de Agualva e Mira-Sintra

  • União das Freguesias de Almargem do Bispo, Pero Pinheiro e Montelavar

  • União das Freguesias de Cacém e São Marcos

  • União das Freguesias de Massamá e Monte Abraão

  • União das Freguesias de Queluz e Belas

  • União das Freguesias de São João das Lampas e Terrugem

  • União das Freguesias de SINTRA: Santa Maria E São Miguel, São Martinho e São Pedro de Penaferrim

 

There are two factors that contribute decisively for the climate conditions of Sintra. The first one is related to the location of the county in relation to the Atlantic Ocean; the second has to do with the condensation barrier that the mountain range constitutes. And so, it’s possible to observe that the levels of radiation diminish from Southeast to Northeast, that is, as we approach the coast. Heat stroke has the same type of variation, but in the Serra (mountain range) zone, there are as low values as the ones found in Assafora and surrounding territory due to the cloudiness there existent. Regarding the temperature, it has its lowest values in the area of the mountain range and on the far northeast of the county; in the first case due to the altitude and in the second due to the conditions of relative continentality. Finally, regarding precipitation, two other very different situations are verified: one drier, by the coast, and other more humid, which covers the área under direct influence of the Serra (where precipitation reaches its maximum) and all the oriental area of the county.