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Castelo dos Mouros, Sintra

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Castelo dos Mouros (The Castle of the Moors) is a medieval castle in the municipality of Sintra, Portugal. The castle was constructed during the period of Arab occupation of the Iberian peninsula (8-9 century) and taken by Christian forces during the 2nd Crusade (12th century).

The castle's military importance was progressively diminishing, as the inhabitants were abandoning the hard to reach castle (you need to walk uphill for an hour) for the old village of Sintra.

By the end of 15th century, the castle was completely abandoned until a small Jewish community settled in, seeking a bit of seclusion and protection from their Christian neighbours. Little did they know... King Manuel I of Portugal decided to marry Infanta Isabella of Aragon, daughter of Spanish King Ferdinand and Isabella, who had expelled the Jews in 1492, and would never marry their daughter to the king of a country, that still tolerated their presence.

So, the faithful King Manuel, decreed in 1496, that any Jew who did not convert to Christianity would be expelled from the country, which technically ended the presence of Jews in Portugal, and, incidentally, ended the human presence in the Castle of the Moors until the revival of tourism in the 20th century.

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