• сhristinabutorina

2019 #Sintra | Palaçio da Peña

Updated: Jan 8, 2020

An amazing place where you feel yourself like a kid in a fairy-tale. It’s located in the highest point of the mountain, so besides the gingerbread-house-looking palace itself you can enjoy incredible views around, from the town at the hill bottom till Atlantic ocean's cost on the horizon.

How to reach out all Sintra’s spots is described in my previous post. Once you get in #PalaçiodaPeña there is an entrance area where you can buy tickets. You would probably want to get inside the palace to see an interior, but as I was not going to do so, then I just got “park“ ticket.

The good thing you can learn there also is a hint, how long time you would spend inside depending on the time you arrive, so you can finetune your further plans if needed.

Then you would need to be prepared to walk up about 550 meters additional bonus, workout for free with beautiful views in the park, nice birds singing included.

The palace is located on the tophill and supported by massive walls. Once you step into its territory you immediately fall in love with an environment.

It’s a national monument and constitutes one of the major expressions of 19th century Romanticism in the world. The palace is one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

A bit of history. In 1493 King John II with his wife Queen Leonor made a pilgrimage to the site to fulfill a vow. His successor King Manuel I was also very fond of this sanctuary and ordered the construction of a monastery on this site which was donated to the Order of Saint Jerome. For centuries Peña was a small, quiet place for meditation, housing a maximum of eighteen monks.

In the 18th century the monastery was severely damaged by lighting and the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 took the heaviest toll on the monastery, reducing it to ruins. For many decades the ruins remained untouched, but in 1838 prince Ferdinand II decided to acquire the old monastery. King Ferdinand then set out to transform the remains of the monastery into a palace that would serve as a summer residence for the Portuguese royal family.

The commission for the Romantic style rebuilding was given to Wilhelm Luswig von Eschwege, a German amateur #architect, who was much traveled and likely had knowledge of several castles along the Rhine river. The construction took place between 1842 and 1854 and was completed in 1847 King Ferdinand and Queen Maria II intervened on matters of decoration and symbolism. King suggested vault arches, medieval and Islamic elements be included, and designed an ornate window for the main facade.

After the death of Ferdinand the #palace passed into the possession of his second wife Elisa Hensler, then sold to King Luis. In 1889 it was purchased by the Portuguese State, and after the Republican Revolution of 1910 it was classified as a national monument and transformed into a museum. 

Over time the colors of the red and yellow facades faded, and for many years the palace was visually identified as being entirely gray. By the end of the 20th century the palace was repainted and the original colors restored.

Walking along the castle walls opens amazing views onto surroundings. Castello dos Mouros seems would be laying right on your palm...

...and Sintra town spectacular panoramic views are all around down the hill. This is one of the most exciting part of visiting the place, I believe.

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