2019 #Sintra | Quinta da Regaleira
Updated: Jan 8
Quinta da Regaleira is an estate located in Sintra town and it’s classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The place is absolutely magical and definitely a must-visit spot.
The property contains of a palace, chapel and a big park that features lakes, grottoes, wells, fountains and other constructions. The palace is also known as “The Palace of Monteiro the Millionaire”, which is based on the nickname of its best known former owner Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro.
Historical point. The land had many owners over the years. It belonged to the Viscountess of Regaleira, then it was sold (end of 20th century) to Carvalho Monteiro, who was eager to build a bewildering place where he could collect symbols that reflected his interests and ideologies. With italian architect Luigi Manini he recreated the estate and in addition to other new features, he added enigmatic buildings that allegedly held symbols related to #alchemy, #Masonry, the Knights Templar and the Rosicrucians. The construction of the current estate was continuing during six years till 1910. Later in the mid of 20th century the estate was sold to Waldemar d'Orey, who used it as private residence for his extensive family. In 1987 the estate was sold once again to the Japanese Aoki Corporation and ceased to serve as a residence. The corporation kept the estate closed to the public for ten years, until it was acquired by the Sintra Town Council. It finally opened to the public in June 1998.
The best way to explore is to walk around the park from uphill, visiting all its spots on the way (no worries they will give you a map together with the ticket), finishing on the downhill where the palace and chapel are located.
The biggest part of the land consists of a densely treed park lined with tons of roads and footpaths. The woods are arranged artfully in the lower parts of the estate, but are left wild and disorganized in the upper parts, reflecting Carvalho Monteiro's belief in #primitivism.
Two Initiation Wells or inverted towers are built in the property that better resemble underground towers lined with stairs. They were never served as water sources, but used for ceremonial purposes that included #Tarot initiation rites.
The larger one contains a 27-meter spiral staircase with several small landings. The spacing of these landings, combined with the number of steps in the stairs, are linked to Tarot mysticism.
Once you‘ve reached the bottom a spectacular view opens from inside.
There is an enigmatic system of tunnels in the park, which have multiple entry points. The Initiation Well connects to other tunnels via a series of underground walkways.
The smaller well contains straight stairs that connect a series of ring-shaped floors to one another, it’s also called the 'Unfinished Well'.
The Waterfall Lake with its system of caves is the place which appears in front of you once you get out of a tunnel, after going down inside the big Initiation Well.
The Regaleira tower is clearly visible from any part of the park, it’s the highest construction in the property.
Walking through the park is definitely enjoyable (just don’t forget first you have to climb up to relax with walking down then).
The Fount of Abundance is a beautiful construction though.
The Regaleira Chapel is a Roman Catholic Chapel, it stands in front of the palace's main facade and its architecture is same style as palace’s. Despite its relatively small size, the #chapel has several floors.
The Regaleira Palace is a cherry on the cake. The structure's facade is characterized by exuberantly Gothic gargoyles, capitals and an impressive octagonal tower.
The palace contains five floors and has a lot of different rooms. I went through inside, but frankly speaking didn’t make the pics as the lower rooms are not that much impressive as the exterior of the palace and the views outside, but upper part of the palace was closed for construction.
By the way, Palaçio da Peña is very well visible atop the hill when it’s a good weather with a clear blue sky on the background.