With the Christian reconquest of Sintra, D. Afonso Henriques handed over guardianship of the city to the Order of the Templars in a document addressed to the Grande Master of the Order, D. Gualdim Pais. Among the donations in the document is the Forest of Almosquer, houses in the centre of the City (where now are the Café Paris and Hotel Central, Murtas). Under the City are subterranean galleries, a work of the Templars which are explored by archaeologists.
The original construction of this magnificent Palace, National Heritage, dates from the 16th century. In the reign of D. João II it was only a small chapel in honour of Nossa Senhora da Pena. In the 19th century D. Fernando II marveled at the scenery of Sintra and decided to acquire this space as well as the surrounding areas, Castle of the Moors, farms and forests. Genealogically this was known to be linked to the Rose Cross fraternity, of which he was the Grand Master and later the Order of Christ (after the Templars). It now contains allegories to the Order such as the bow window and the north façade of the Palace, both inspired by the Convent of Christ.
In an attempt to take the Castle of Sintra, known as the Castle of the Moors, D. Afonso Henriques entrusted D. Gil, a knight templar who took a trusted group of men and secretly observed the enemies. Legend is mixed with reality and people say that when they walked silently at night so as not to be seen, between Colares and Penedo, Our Lady appeared to them and said ” Have no fear because if you walk twenty miles you can walk a thousand” . The knights took courage and beat the Moors. Truth or myth, what is true is that a chapel was built to Nossa Senhora de Milides (Mil Ides) situated in Colares. The Castle was always linked to the Order until D. Fernando acquired it.
Quinta da Regaleira
The most enigmatic, unusual and mysterious building in Sintra, it is also known as Palace of Monteiro dos Milhões, associated with the name of its first owner António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro. This estate of four 4 hectares is enclosed by luxuriant gardens and tunnels in the subsoil, open to the public. It blatantly exhibits symbolic marks that evoke Masonry, Rose Cross and Templars. Possibly the most charismatic is the Initiate Well, a subterranean gallery with spiral staircase, in nine landings and sections of 25 stairs that evoke hell, paradise and purgatory as in Dante’s Divine Comedy, linked to the Rose Cross. At the bottom of the well the symbol of the Templar Cross overlaps the Rose of the Winds. The pretty chapel of Santíssima Trindade has embedded in the floor the Armillary Sphere and the Cross of the Order of Christ enclosed by pentagrams. Totally unmissable!