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Quinta da Regaleira: One of the most visited residences in Sintra, Portugal

Marija Georgievska

The residence Quinta da Regaleira is located close to the historic center of Sintra in Portugal. The Palace has a unique architecture, and it is considered to be one of the most visited tourist attractions in the center. It has an amazingly decorated Gothic façade and one the most impressive parts are the enchanting gardens. The whole complex consists of the palace, a chapel, and the remarkable park with many fountains, lakes, wells, and grottoes. Beside the Gothic façade, Egyptian, Renaissance, and Moorish decorations can be seen inside.

The enigmatic buildings at the property were Manini’s addition that held many symbols related to the Knights Templar, the Masonry, and alchemy. The architectural style of the buildings was a mix of Gothic, Roman, Renaissance, and Manueline styles. The current construction of the estate was begun in 1904, and in 1910 it was finished.

The next owner of the estate was Waldemar d’Orey who bought it in 1942. He had a big family, so he used the property as a private residence and made few changes and repairs. In 1987, Aoki Corporation bought the property as their home. At that time, the estate was closed to the public until 1997, when it was purchased by the Sintra Town Council. In June 1998, when the land was opened for visitors, it was classified as “public interest property” by the Portuguese Ministry of Culture.

The main facade of the palace. Photo Credit

The main facade of the Quinta de Regaleira Palace. Author: Fredrik Rubensson CC by 2.0

 

It had many owners throughout the years. Photo Credit

It had many owners throughout the years. Author: Luiyo CC By SA 2.0

The castle have impressive octagonal tower. Photo Credit

The castle has an impressive octagonal tower. Author Duca 696 CC by 3.0

The Regaleira Palace is a magnificent structure which has an impressive octagonal tower. On the façade, there are various gargoyles and capitals. It is a five-storey building which has a ground floor, a basement, and three upper floors. According to Lonely Planet, the palace is surprisingly homely inside, despite its ferociously carved fireplaces, frescoes, and Venetian-glass mosaics. The most beautiful fireplace can be seen in the dining room stat supports a woodsman statue.

In front of the main façade of the palace is the Roman Catholic Chapel. It is fully decorated with frescoes, and it has stained glass windows. This small sized chapel has several floors. The park is the most beautiful place which is arranged in the lower parts of the property, but in the upper parts, it is left wild and unarranged which reflects Carvalho’s idea for the bewildering place. There are unusual tunnels in an enigmatic system with multiple entry points.

A system of tunnels and caves are connected to two deep and spiralling wells. Photo Credit

A system of tunnels and caves are connected to two deep and spiraling wells. Author: Fredrik Rubensson. CC by 2.0

They can be entered through the grottoes, the Leda’s Cave, the chapel, and the Waterfall Lake. The most mysterious parts of the residence are the underground Initiation wells which are spiraling deep within the earth.

These upside-down towers were never used for something like water collection. Instead, they were used for ceremonial purposes that included secretive initiation rites. Very little is known about what was going on inside because the construction was made very close-shaped and anyone can see that a great effort went into their planning. The tunnels mentioned above where the connectors of this wells.

One of the Initiation wells. Photo Credit

One of the Initiation wells. Author Ling Wang Marina CC by 2.0

The bigger well of the two contains 88.5 ft spiral staircase, and it has several smaller landings. The number of the steps and the spacing of the landings is connected to the Masonic Tarot mysticism. It contains nine platforms which are an allegory of the circles of Hell from Dante’s Divine Comedy. 

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The unfinished, smaller well connects the floors designed in a ring shape to one another. In the park, there are several fountains and two artificial lakes that were added by Monteiro. The most extravagant among them is the Aquarium which is no longer in use.