Sintra – Portugal’s fancy-pancy palaces II
The picturesque landscape of Sintra is rightfully classified UNESCO Heritage and located in the Sintra Mountains, just a day trip away from Lisbon (30 km) and only about 15 km to the east of the Atlantic Ocean.
The beauty of Sintra lies in its royal buildings and estates from early medieval times to the romanticism of the 19th century.
The city of Sintra is an exquisite mountain village and if it wasn’t for us tourists, it would have been ghostly empty.
SINTRA NATIONAL PALACE
Location: Largo Rainha Dona Amélia, 2710-616 Sintra. Admission: Our combined ticket for four palaces (Monserrate, Sintra, Queluz and Pena) was 32,50 Euros per person.
The National Palace in Sintra dates back to Arab rule in the 10th century but the building, as it stands now, was constructed mainly in the 15th century by King João I (1358-1433) and in the 16th century by King Manuel I (1469-1521).
King Maunel I was the snart and lucky ruler, who supported and derived enormous wealth from Portuguese exploration and foreign trade. Manuel used the money for the construction of various exquisite buildings following the Manueline style (also labelled as Gothic-Renaissance) of his time. If you follow our travels, you will remember this magnificent Manueline monastery.
The National Palace of Sintra is a blend of Mudéjar and Manueline styles.
Arched Manueline windows.
The conical chimneys are the most noted feature of its peculiar architecture.
There were many pretty details, yet overall the house felt a bit clumsy, or heavy and medieval – it could just be that by this time I was completely captured by the spell of our previous impressions by the light and delicate Queluz Palace.
The walls of Sintra’s Natioanl Palace are incredibly thick, interiors felt cheerless and rooms appeared rather dark and gloomy.
The times of the Palace’s construction favoured a revival of Islamic-Mudéjar ornamentation, which is reflected in the decorative use of azulejos, the polychromed ceramic tiles.
I will remember the National Palace of Sintra as an image of many many tiles, lining whole rooms.
The overwhelming amount of tile paintings, favoured a more focused approach.
The Portuguese love their tiles. It makes hot summers feel cooler. It also inevitably turns every room into a kitchen. Or bathroom.
This is the kitchen.
Interestingly, the chapel was bright and felt like sunshine in the rain. It so happened that a prayer’s room turned into my favourite part of the bulky residence.
One peculiarity about the palace is its decorative affinity towards birds. Look out for swans, magpies, other unidentified feathered creatures.
A last picture of the palace’s façade featuring Manueline windows and Waving Man.
Goodbye, Sintra National Palace! But we were not palace-out yet and the final gem of the day was wondrous Monserrate . See you there!