From the chapel to the palace
Pena Palace towers on a hill near the town of Sintra. Even in the Middle Ages, a small chapel dedicated to Lady Pena was located at this place. According to legend, it was in this place that the Virgin Mary once saw a believer. Soon after its appearance, construction began.
At the end of the 15th century, the construction of the monastery began on the hill by order of King Manuel. For a long time, Pena was a quiet, secluded place where 18 monks found shelter. But the location features played a cruel joke with the monastery: in the first half of the 18th century, lightning struck it all the time, so that by the middle of the century only ruins remained on the hill. Interestingly, the ancient chapel and its marble decoration almost did not suffer.
From Gothic to Islamic Architecture
For years, the top of the hill was decorated with the ruins of a former monastery. In 1838, Fernando II, husband of the Queen of Portugal Maria II, laid eyes on the picturesque views near the city of Sintra. He decided not to rebuild the destroyed monastery, but to build a castle at this place, which would serve as a summer residence for a large royal family. The German architect Ludwig von Eschwege took up the matter. He was an avid traveler, so in the project of the new palace he combined the features of completely different styles.
The architect worked on the wishes of the royal couple. It was Fernando who proposed combining the features of Gothic architecture in the arches, the Islamic style in the minaret-like towers, and medieval traditions. Fernando's special wish was to design the window of the main facade in the style of the monastery of the Order of Christ in Tomar. The castle seems to grow out of the rock. A refectory, a treasury and a small chapel remained nearby from the former monastery. The interiors of the palace are artfully decorated with frescoes, picturesque paintings, paintings and sculptures. For the construction and decoration of the castle Pena Fernando II spent a lot of money.
Convent of the Order of Christ in Tomar
Queen's Last Refuge
Fernando II died in 1885, after his death, the castle passed into the possession of his second wife, the opera singer Isabella Hensler. She had to sell the palace to King Louis, who again adapted it for the residence of the royal family. At the end of the XIX century, the castle was bought by the state. After the Revolution of 1910, Pena Palace was turned into a museum.
It was here that the last Queen of Portugal, Amelia, spent her last night before leaving the country for good. For a long time the paint on the walls of the castle was not updated, and over time it became completely gray. At the end of the XX century the palace was painted again, and many residents were surprised - they managed to forget that the former residence of the kings once shone with all the colors of the rainbow.