Portugal Palacio Nacional Sintra

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Sue Wolfe

About this spot
It is not hard to find the Palacio Nacional Sintra—just look for the building with the two coned chimneys. The Palace of Sintra was a favorite of the royals—cool summer temps and plenty of hunting made it one of the most used palaces from the 15th century until 1910. In early years the palace was known as the House of Queens but eventually the presence of a king in court became the norm.

The first time we hear of the castle on the hill was in the 10th century by a Moorish geographer. The palace has been added to over the years with each member of royalty leaving their mark. During the reign of King João (1356-1433) the palace saw extensive additions including the new kitchen with its two enormous conical chimneys. Manuel I (1469-1521) added the cupola that displays the coats of arms for his family and the 72 most noble households in Portugal. Construction over the years is seen in the different styles—Gothic, Manueline, Moorish and Mudéjar. King Afonso VI (1650s) was imprisoned here after his brother declared him too unstable to rule the country. The tower over the Arab Room collapsed during the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, however, care was taken to restore the palace to its original condition.

Palacio Nacional Sintra became a national monument in 1910 when Portugal became a Republic. The Palace was opened to the public in the late 1930s and was included on the World Heritage list by UNESCO in 1995.

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