Over a thousand years of sun, moon, rain
have kissed the rocks, moistened and misted the
turrets of The Castle of the Moor.
Atop the hill are
Breathtaking; we are
Here, in Sintra, Portugal.
You walk along
it; romance from the time when
Moorish monarchs summered
here (Was it a summer place for Moorish royalty or just a military stronghold?)
With the Reconquista the Castle traded Islam for Christian rule.
Then there was a period
when the Jews of Sintra recited ancient prayers within
Another type of worship, all within one
And then, my friend,
A great shake in Lisbon which
was felt as far as Sintra, a quake
of the earth and the old stones trembled. They shook
to the very foundation — yet
It is a fortress;
it is meant to hold.
And then there was –
Neglect. Disrepair. The gentle
of the elements.
A champion arrived in 1840. Ferdinand II of Portugal brought
to shore up this magnificent carapace.
workmen to shore up, to gather –
Oh the dusty bones!
And caused a tree,
a tree, to bloom, in the courtyard to honor the
the passing of time, which had seen
Kings and conquerors,
lovers and warriors, worship and walk in meditative
And us –
by a modern light and an ancient sun.
Oh what land!
which pounded At
from the crest — the great heights of
the Sintra Mountains.
From the pinnacle,
across the way
on a day clear, to Mafra, Ericeira and
Further out, the sea
For us, to be here now.
For us to be –
our own familial bond as we look upon
snaking walls –this is
a monument, a
fortress, castle, sanctuary.
We are the
ones who walk now upon the paths
clasped in –
Castelo dos Mouros,
The Castle of the Moors
for sight into the distance
and back into time.
Reflecting upon, and honoring, those who brought this
Place into being.
And we are here and that is part of
the story of our hearts and spirits.
Souring from the views, from the heights
which are not for the faint
but were built as
We are here now,
walking in this sunshine
We are not conquerors
we come in
We come in excitement and love and curiosity and gratitude
to walk these sinewy paths and to play;
that the memory of
the extraordinary beauty of
The Castle of the Moor in Sintra, Portugal,
stay with us –
and that we be strong
Cared for in the memory
That we add to with each step
upon the path.
© Moira G. Gallaga
In 1147, after the conquest of Lisbon by King Afonso Henriques, the Moorish garrison of the castle surrendered to the Christians without resistance as part of the liberation of Portugal from the Moors.
© Moira G. Gallaga