Sintra and its Serra, more than extremely beautiful, are truly unique.
It is upon this singularity that Sintra has been internationally acclaimed by poets, artists and thinkers. Its difference lies in the exceptional syncretism existing between Nature and its ancient monuments, in addition to the pioneering architectonic dreams it inspired in the Romantic period.Portugal has no other location similar to Sintra. It would be a difficult task to find a parallel either in Europe, or anywhere else in the world owing to its complexity and the characteristic syncretism existing between its Natural and Built Heritage.
There may be a degree of resemblance in several Central European regions, in which superb Romantic palaces, surrounded by magnificent settings, were built in the 1860´s. It should, however, be remembered that Sintra´s Pena Palace, which was a prototype of European Romanticism in its extravagance of styles and exotic and medieval characteristics, precedes its German counterparts by at least a quarter of a century. In addition to its surronding natural landscape, it is located in the centre of a park whose characteristics are unique, comprising thousands of trees imported from all over the world, which singularity has, to a certain extent, been repeated, in Monserrate.
The Cultural Landscape of Sintra has simultaneously been classified in categories II, IV and V of paragraph 24 established by UNESCO (Orientations devant guider la mise en oeuvre de la Convention du Patrimoine Mondial).
Sintra had a major effect on the development of European Romantic architecture (Pena Palace; Monserrate) in the 19th century. Its interest, however, is by no means limited to one or two important buildings, but is represented in the diversity of its palaces and parks; elegant manor houses, with their gardens and forests; mansions and chalets surrounded by a dense vegetation; long sections of walls winding around the highest of the peaks of the Serra, reminding us of centuries past; convents conducive to meditation, surrounded by mossy cliffs and murmuring fountains; austere churches and chapels, as well as smaller, more “human” commonplace chapels, several of which comprise secular areas os Faith and Art and finally, archaeological remains which are often thousands of years old and which take us back to our deepest roots.
These, and many other reasons, explain why Sintra truly deserves to be classified under UNESCO´S “CULTURAL LANDSCAPE OF SINTRA” World Heritage classification.
Sintra has for many centuries been a World Heritage Site in the collective imaginariness.