Portugal- 4/13- 4/20/2016
Sintra is a small town sprawls at the food of a hill. For centuries, Sintra was the summer escape for Portugal's kings. Those with money and a desire to be close to royalty built their palaces amid luxuriant gardens in the same neighborhood. The whole town is classified as a Unesco World Heritage Site and is home to no less than five palaces and a castle. The royals preferred to stay here during summertime since the weather is several degrees cooler here than in Lisbon.
There are a bunch of popular sights and limited public transportation so we drove into town and were lucky enough to find a parking space.
From our parking space we had to walk a good 15 minutes to the National Palace (Palacio Nacional)
As we were walking we could see the National Palace in the distance...
The most striking and distinctive feature of the palace is the two large conical chimneys of the kitchen, each measuring 33 meters high and is now adopted as symbol of Sintra.
The National Palace of Sintra is now managed by the public company Parques de Sintra, established in 2000 following the recognition by UNESCO, in 1995, of the Cultural Landscape of Sintra as a World Heritage Site.
Town of Sintra
On top of a hill overlooking Sintra you can see the ruin of Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors),
Sintra National Palace-Palácio Nacional de Sintra
The Sintra national palace is the town’s most distinctive building and is situated right in the heart of Sintra. It is also commonly referred to as the Palacio da Vila, the Town Palace.
The palace was in use by the royal family until 1880. In 1910, with the proclamation of the republic, the palace became a national monument. The National Palace of Sintra can trace its origin back to the beginning of the Muslim period in the Iberian Peninsula. Beginning with the nation’s first dynasties, Sintra was one of the preferred places of Portuguese kings and queens, although the palace that we can see nowadays owes its existence to an initiative of Dom João I, who rebuilt it, and Dom Manuel I, who enriched the building’s decorative character and added a new wing
As early as in the tenth century a
residential palace was built here by the Moors who at the time ruled over the
region. In 1147, during the Christian recon quest, Dom Afonso Henriques captured
Sintra from the Moors and occupied the palace, which was named Palácio de Oliva
Much of what we see today can be traced back to 1385, when king Joan I (John I) ordered the complete reconstruction of the palace. In the early sixteenth century King Manuel I started a thorough renovation with funds acquired thanks to the riches that were brought to Lisbon by Portuguese explorers. At the same time the palace was expanded in a combination of Manueline and Mudéjar styles.
The palace stands as a living testimony to some of the most successful moments in Portuguese history when the country opened up to new worlds, and its architecture and heritage became marked by the harmonious combination of Gothic, Mudejar and Renaissance elements.
Water fountain in front of the entrance
This is the view of the town of Sintra from the entrance of the Palace National .
Sintra is hilly and very beautiful.
The Swan room
The swan room is the palace's banquet room. A King's daughter who loves swan, she married into a royal house in Belgium. The king missed the princess so much that he decorated the ceiling with favorite animal.
Close look at ceiling with a swan.
Circular stairs leading to the courtyard...
The castle was a fortified medieval palace so rather than having fancy gardens outside, it has an enclosed courtyard within its protective walls.
Notice the unique chimneys. They provide powerful suction that removed the smoke from the kitchen and also create a marvelous open-domed feeling
The magpie room - Sala das Pegas
Described by King Duarte as the Chamber of State, it was here that notables, kingdom dignitaries, as wells as foreign ambassadors were received.
It is the only room to have retained its original name since the 15th century.
The ceiling was restored but has retained its original decoration.
There are two different stories surrounding
this room. According to the 1st story, the room was decorated with magpies
since the king thought the women at the court chattered like magpies.
The 2nd story claimed that the king made advances to one of the ladies-in-waiting by giving her a rose behind the back of his wife, Queen Philippa. A magpie snatched the rose and the king, caught red-handed, excused himself with the words 'Por bem' (For the good) and commissioned a painting of a magpie for every lady-in-waiting.
Painted with 136 magpies, each one holding a rose and a scroll with the words 'Por bem' the king's slogan (For good).
This Moorish titles are from Spain, brought in before the development of the famous ubiquitous Portuguese tiles, and are considered some of the finest Moorish Spanish tile in all of Iberia
Coats-of-Arms Room - Sala dos Brasões
This is the most striking room in the palace honoring Portugal's loyal nobility.
The walls are decorated with blue and white azulejos that were added in the eighteenth century.
The ceiling is a hexagonal decorated with paintings of deer and the coats of arms of seventy-two noble families.
The King's coat of arms at the top is surrounded by coats and arms of this children, and below that, the coats of arms of all but one of Portugal's noble families. The omitted family had schemed a revolt, so received only a blank niche. The Latin phrase circling the room reads: :Honoring all the noble families who've been loyal to the King."
Galleon Room - Sala das Gales
Constructed at the transition of he 16th to the 17th century, its name comes from the ceiling decoration which dates from a later period 17th century checkered tiles
Small Gothic chapel with Moorish style ceiling.
Close look at the intricate and beautiful ceiling inside the Capela
Arab room-Sala dos Árabes decorated with intricate motifs and azulejos
This ends our visit of the Palace.
Our way out it was pouring... We had to buy umbrellas!
Small street in Sintra
Town of Sintra
Sau Martinho is a small church but it was closed when we got there.
We were so soaked that we stopped by the Tourist information office to stay dry.
The rain stopped and we are now walking back to our car.
View of the City
Next..Boca Da Roca