sintra: palácio nacional da pena

Friday, July 19:   After visiting the Moorish Castle,  I take the Scotturb bus to visit the Palácio Nacional da Pena, or the Pena National Palace, a 19th-century Romanticist palace that stands on a hilltop adjacent to the Moorish Castle.  On a clear day it can be easily seen from the metropolitan area of Lisbon, rising up like some fantasy from a thickly wooded, and sometimes mist-enshrouded, peak.

Yet another stunning place in Sintra!

Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena

Pena National Palace is a fairy tale-like national monument, with a bewildering array of onion domes, stone snakes, Moorish keyhole gates and arches, colorful tile walls, and crenellated towers in pinks and lemons. The Pena Palace has a profusion of styles in line with the exotic taste of Romanticism. The intentional mixture of eclectic styles includes the Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Neo-Islamic and Neo-Renaissance.

Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
me at Pena National Palace
me at Pena National Palace
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena

The history of Pena National Palace began in the Middle Ages when a chapel was built here, Our Lady of Pena, after an apparition of the Virgin Mary.

Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Moorish arches
Moorish arches
Tilework at Palácio Nacional da Pena
Tilework at Palácio Nacional da Pena
arches with a view at Palácio Nacional da Pena
arches with a view at Palácio Nacional da Pena

In 1493, King John II and his wife Queen Leonor visited the site to fulfill a vow.  His successor, King Manuel I, who was also fond of the site, built a monastery here donated to the Order of Saint Jerome.  It was a quiet meditative place housing no more than 18 monks.  In the 18th century, it was damaged by lightning and then was mostly reduced to ruins during The Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755.  In the mid-19th century, King Ferdinand II fell in love with the site, and decided to build a summer palace here for the Portuguese Royal Family.  Construction took place from 1842-1854.

Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Cloister at Palácio Nacional da Pena
Cloister at Palácio Nacional da Pena

In 1889, it was bought by the Portuguese state and has since become a major tourist attraction. Over time the colors of the red and yellow façades 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, much to the dismay of many Portuguese who were not aware that the palace had once displayed such chromatic variety.

inside Palácio Nacional da Pena
inside Palácio Nacional da Pena
a chaise lounge at Palácio Nacional da Pena
a chaise lounge at Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Cloister at Palácio Nacional da Pena
Cloister at Palácio Nacional da Pena
Cloister with tile work at Palácio Nacional da Pena
Cloister with tile work at Palácio Nacional da Pena

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

ceiling at Palácio Nacional da Pena
ceiling at Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena

In 1995, the palace and the rest of the Cultural Landscape of Sintra were classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.  It’s also one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. Of these Seven Wonders, the only other one I see while in Portugal is Belém Tower in Lisbon.

looking down from the Queen's balcony at Palácio Nacional da Pena
looking down from the Queen’s balcony at Palácio Nacional da Pena
clock tower at Palácio Nacional da Pena
clock tower at Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
view of the Moorish Castle from Palácio Nacional da Pena
view of the Moorish Castle from Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena

It is also used for state occasions by the President of the Portuguese Republic and other government officials. (Wikipedia: Pena National Palace).

Palácio Nacional da Pena
Palácio Nacional da Pena
gardens at Palácio Nacional da Pena
gardens at Palácio Nacional da Pena
water gardens at Palácio Nacional da Pena
water gardens at Palácio Nacional da Pena
hydrangeas at Palácio Nacional da Pena
hydrangeas at Palácio Nacional da Pena
hydrangeas at Palácio Nacional da Pena
hydrangeas at Palácio Nacional da Pena
gardens at Palácio Nacional da Pena
gardens at Palácio Nacional da Pena

After spending awhile here, I take the bus back into Sintra-Vila where I hope to have a little lunch and visit the Friday market near my hotel.

6 thoughts on “sintra: palácio nacional da pena

  1. You went there on my birthday. I feel like I’ve had a belated birthday treat while reading this post. Oh, I really want to go to Portugal and Spain now I’ve been there with you. I love the way the staircases wind up to those little towers.

  2. Missed this one – I shall have to sit down with a coffee and go through your recent posts!
    Lovely photos as usual, and a lot like the ones I took in May 2012. You have better weather though and nice interior shots. I don’t think I took any photos inside, and we were not allowed to photograph that lovely tiled courtyard! I was a little disappointed with this palace though, it feels as though it needs a lot of TLC as do many of Portugal’s treasures.
    Jude xx

    1. I think you’re right, Jude, that Portugal’s castles could do with some tender loving care. I didn’t encounter any restrictions to photographing the castle, either inside or out. I really did luck out with the weather! Thank goodness.🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s