A Walk a Week – Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra

In 1892 Carvalho Monteiro (also known as Monteiro the Millionaire), born to Portuguese parents in Rio de Janeiro, inherited a huge family fortune, which he enlarged in Brazil by selling coffee and precious stones. He bought this beautiful estate in 1892 that belonged to the Barons of Regaleira.

He wished to build a bewildering place where he could gather symbols that would reflect his interests and ideologies. With the assistance of the Italian architect Luigi Manini, he designed the 4-hectare estate with its enigmatic buildings (a palace, a chapel, a park with lakes, fountains, aquarium, tunnels and sculptures).

It’s believed to hide symbols related to alchemy, Masonry, the Templar Knights and the Rosicrucians. The architecture of the estate evokes Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and Portuguese Manueline architectural styles. The construction of the current estate commenced in 1904 and most of it was concluded by 1910. Now-a-days it’s a foundation and is open to the public for visits and cultural events. Well worth a visit!

detail of the façade

detail of the façade

Terrace

Terrace

 The façade of the palace is characterized by exuberantly Gothic pinnacles, gargoyles and capitals.

The façade of the palace is characterized by exuberantly Gothic pinnacles, gargoyles and capitals.

Palace's façade with the Moors Castle reflected on the glass

Palace’s façade with the Moors Castle reflected on the glass

The Fountain of Abundance

The Fountain of Abundance

Regaleira Palace

Regaleira Palace

Threshold of the Gods

Threshold of the Gods

The "Initiation Well" or "Initiatic Well" (sometimes referred to as the "Inverted Tower") is a 27 meter staircase that leads straight down underground and connects with other tunnels via underground walkways.

The “Initiation Well” or “Initiatic Well” (sometimes referred to as the “Inverted Tower”) is a 27 meter staircase that leads straight down underground and connects with other tunnels via underground walkways.

Palace's main entrance door

Palace’s main entrance door

Guardians' Entrance

Guardians’ Entrance

One of the many terraces of the palace

One of the many terraces of the palace

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7 responses to “A Walk a Week – Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra

  1. I love this. A wonderful description and intriguing photos. The Initation well, whoooo! It looks like it is accessible to the public. Can you also explore the tunnels below??? Thanks for the post. M

    • The tunnels are not fully accessible, one can walk through a part of them using the Guardian’s Entrance. The deep connecting tunnels are closed to public visits because they are not lighten and due to Sintra’s natural underground water sources the ways are wet (it rains inside) and are consequently very slippery.

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