Sites & cities that bear the name of Sintra


Today in : Portugal
First trace of activity : ca. 9th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Civitas Olisiponense, Suntria, Xintara‎

Description : Sintra is a town and municipality in the Greater Lisbon region of Portugal, located on the Portuguese Riviera. The earliest remnants of human occupation were discovered in Penha Verde: these vestiges testify to an occupation dating to the early Paleolithic. Comparable remnants were discovered in an open-air site in São Pedro de Canaferrim, alongside the chapel of the Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle), dating back to the Neolithic, and include decorated ceramics and microlithic flint utensils from the fifth century B.C. Ceramic fragments found locally including many late Chalcolithic vases from the Sintra mountains suggest that between the fourth and third millennia B.C. the region (adjacent to the present village of Sintra) was occupied by a Neolithic/Chalcolithic settlement, with characteristics comparable to fortified settlements in Lisbon and Setúbal. The evidence discovered in Quinta das Sequoias and São Pedro de Canaferrim contrasts dramatically with those remnants discovered in the walled town of Penha Verde and the funerary monument of Bella Vista. Traces of several Bronze Age remains were also discovered in many places in the Sintra Mountains, including alongside the town, in the Monte do Sereno area, and a late Bronze Age settlement within the Moorish Castle dating to the 9th–6th centuries B.C. The most famous object from this period is the so-called Sintra Collar, a middle Bronze Age gold neck-ring found near the city at the end of the nineteenth century, which since 1900 has been part of the British Museum's collection. Relatively close by, in Santa Eufémia da Serra, is an Iron Age settlement where artifacts from indigenous tribes and peoples of Mediterranean origins (principally from the Punic period) were also discovered. These date from the early 4th century, prior to the Romanization of the peninsula, which in the area of Foz do Tejo took place in the middle of the 2nd century B.C. Close proximity to a large commercial centre (Olisipo) founded by Turduli tribes in the first half of the first millennium A.D., meant that the region of Sintra was influenced by human settlement throughout various epochs, cultures that have left remains in the area to this day. The toponym Sintra derives from the medieval Suntria, and points to an association with radical Indo-European cultures; the word translates into "bright star" or "sun", commonly significant in those cultures. Marcus Terentius Varro and Cadizian Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella designated the place "the sacred mountain" and Ptolemy referred to it as the "mountains of the moon". During the Roman occupation of the peninsula, the region of Sintra was part of the vast Civitas Olisiponense which Caesar (around 49 B.C.) or more likely Octavius (around 30 B.C.) granted the status of Municipium Civium Romanorum. The various residents of the region were considered part of the Roman Galeria and in the present village of Sintra there are Roman remains testifying to a Roman presence from the 1st–2nd centuries B.C. to the 5th century A.D. A roadway along the southeast part of the Sintra Mountains and connected to the main road to Olissipo dates from this period. This via followed the route of the current Rua da Ferraria, the Calçada dos Clérigos and the Calçada da Trindade. Following the Roman custom of siting tombs along their roads and near their homes, there is also evidence of inscriptions pertaining to Roman funeral monuments, dating mainly to the 2nd century.

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