Two mosques, dating from the 11th and 12th centuries have been found by archaeologists working on sites in Alto da Vigia, near Sintra, sparking an expectation of more finds as work continues.
Sintra, already a major tourism destinations because of its royal castles, also boasts the Moorish Castle, a hillside fortification built when Muslims ruled the Iberian Peninsula. The two mosques are of a type called 'ribat,' built both for worship and for surveillance of the coast against attack. There are only two others of the type known to exist, one in Aljezur, Portugal and one in Alicante, Spain.
Local city council officials announced the finds, saying “By comparing these sites leads us to believe that the remains now uncovered in Sintra will include numerous mosques in a large area yet to be excavated." In addition to the mosques, an Islamic cemetery and other structures have been found.
Sintra City Council is promoting a project to enhance and museumize the remains already uncovered, and work is expected to continue at Alto da Vigia through the development of a new research project.