Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sintra: The Pena Palace

The 19th-century Pena National Palace sits on a hilltop overlooking Sintra, but its history dates to the Middle Ages when there was a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Pena there, a pilgrimage site that eventually added on a monastery, later destroyed by lightning and the earthquake, except for the chapel which escaped unharmed. It was left a ruin for a long time, but in 1838, young King Ferdinand acquired the land and commissioned a German mining engineer and amateur architect to transform the ruined monastery into a summer retreat. God bless amateurs, because this Romanticist confection would probably never have been imagined by a trained architect (no offense to my architect friends intended)!


And that's just the exteriors! Stay tuned for the interior.

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