Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal

4 years ago

Palácio da Pena, or "Castelo da Pena" as it is more commonly known, is the most complete and notable example of Portuguese architecture in the Romantic period. It stands on one of the rocky peaks of the Serra de Sintra, and blends in a surprisingly fortunate manner with its natural background of greenery and crags, testifying to the aesthetic potentialities of the project.

The Palace dates back to 1839, when the King Consort Dom Fernando II of Saxe Coburg-Gotha (1816-1885) bought the ruins of the Hieronymite Monastery of Nossa Senhora da Pena and started to adapt it for use as a residence, according to his Romantic taste.

As his director of the works, Baron von Eschwege put into effect the King`s revivalist ideas and round the restored ruins of the monastery raised a majestic pastiche inspired by the palaces and castles of Bavaria. Fanciful to an extreme, the architectural fabric of Pena finds much of its inspiration in the Moorish, Gothic and Manueline motifs of Portuguese art, as well as in the Wagnerian spirit of the Schinkel Castles of Central Europe. It is to be noted that of the former 16th Century monastery there were preserved the Manueline cloister and the chapel, the latter with a celebrated Renaissance reredos by the sculptor Nicolau Chanterene.

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