Sintra, Town of

   Located some 32 kilometers (20 miles) northwest of Lisbon, the charming town of Sintra possesses historic importance of an unusual type. The enduring beauty of Sintra's unique scenery, its microclimate, its private and national palaces and houses, and the views from its mountain range comprise a special, diverse attraction. The town is dominated by the mountain range above it, as well as by the semitropical forests and plants surrounding it. While little of importance in politics occurred in this favorite summering place of royalty and nobility, of greater interest is the place itself and what did not happen here!
   After 1780, starting with the writings of the British romantics Robert Southey and Lord Byron, as well as the protoromantic writer and collector William Beckford, generations of British and other foreign writers and visitors placed Sintra and its surroundings on the map of romantic places to visit. Sintra has a special place in British travel literature. Perhaps the most famous single line is from Byron's long poem Childe Harolde where Sintra, in which Byron resided briefly, is depicted as a "Glorious Eden." With the exception of Lisbon, no other place in the country has been the subject of such an abundance of drawings, etchings, engravings, paintings, and photographs. In Portuguese 19th-century literature, too, including the writings of Almeida Garrett and Eça de Queirós, Sintra is justly described and praised.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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