High up in the Sierra de Sintra (Portugal), specifically on the Mount Pena, is one of the greatest exponents of 19th-century Romanticism, the colorful Pena National Palace. Before arriving in Sintra, we had an idea of what the palace was like, but nothing compares to being there and seeing it in all its splendor.
Originally a hermitage was built under the auspices of King Juan II. Later, King Manuel I, known as “The Fortunate One”, ordered a transformation and reconstruction of the monastery in honor of “Nossa Senhora da Pena” (Our Lady of Pena), donating it to the friars of the Order of Saint Jerome. The earthquake of 1755 almost completely destroyed the monastery surviving only the chapel with an alabaster altarpiece. The friars left the monastery and relocated to the Monastery of Belem in Lisbon.
In 1836, King Ferdinand II ordered the construction of the current palace on the ruins of the old monastery to serve as a holiday residence for the Royal family, completing the works in 1839.
The Pena Palace not only leaves us amazed by its color, but also by the intentional way that architectural styles are mixed. Among the styles we find we can see the Neo-Gothic, Neomanuelian, Neo-Islamic and Neo-Renaissance. In addition, on a smaller scale we find details of colonial architecture. The works of the palace were directed by the German architect Ludwig Von Eschewege.
The palace is divided into four main areas; the foundations and outer walls, the building of the Convent and Clock Tower, the Patio of Arches (Morish) in front of the chapel and the palatial area with its large cylindrical bastion.
The enclave is surrounded by gardens with diverse vegetation and trees from all over the world. In addition, King Fernando II designed several winding roads that lead to the discovery of remarkable places or exotic views. Examples include the High Cross, “Alto de San Antonio”, “Alto de Santa Catarina”, “La Gruta del Monje”, “Pajaritos” Fountain, and the Valley of the Lakes.
The Pena Palace, is undoubtedly a wonderful place that adorns the city of Sintra.