Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
by Liam Hetherington
Manchester, United Kingdom
March 22, 2010
From journal Under The Spell Of Sintra
Cinnaminson, New Jersey
November 7, 2004
If you are in Lisbon, you have to visit nearby Sintra, with an unforgettable Palace of Sintra. The palace’s façade, with Manueline arches and bottle-like chimneys, is very distinctive, and you can’t possibly miss it. The palace is on the hill, and the parking in front of the palace is very small, so you may have to park in the street, and finding a spot is a challenge. You may have to walk a good distance from your car. You can also come to Sintra by train – exit at the station "Sintra" on the Sintra line.
The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage site. After standing in line to get up the stairs along the green tiled staircase, you finally get into the palace, and you understand why. The palace was built in the 14th century and is the only palace in all of Portugal remaining from the Middle Ages. You can still see the rooms on the top floor from the 14th century, which were once occupied by King Dinis. During the reign of King Joao I (late 14th century), Joao added kitchens with the famous bottle-like chimneys. In the 16th century, king Manuel I added a whole wing with rooms decorated in the characteristic Manueline style, which now is obviously called the Manueline wing. Also, all the rooms in the palace at that time were redecorated with Mudejar-style tiles, which you can see during your visit to the palace.
The visit to the palace starts with the Swan Hall, named so because of the swan fresco panels on the ceiling. It used to be Main Hall in the times of Joao I, and all the royal entertainment took place here. There are also patios with beautiful water grottoes and fountains, and the Magpie Room, with the frescoes of these birds on the ceiling and green and blue, sun-like azulejos on the walls and surrounding the fireplace. You can also see several more rooms from the same period, including the Galleon Room, with frescoes of ships, until at last, you make your way to the Coat-of-Arms Hall (1495-1521), which is by far the most impressive room in the palace. It has gilded woodwork on a domed ceiling, crowned by the royal coat of arms, surrounded by coats of arms of 72 noble families. The walls are covered by 17-18th century frescoes and azulejos of hunting scenes. There are also a Chinese room with models of pagodas, an amazing Palatine chapel, built by King Dinis and redecorated by King Manuel I, with white doves on pink walls and a gorgeous mudejar ceiling, an Arab room (Manuel’s bedroom), a guest room (Manuel’s oratory), and of course, the kitchen itself, with the bottle-like chimneys and copper pots and pans, and the Manueline Room, with an enormous crystal chandelier. All the furniture, paintings, tapestries, and ceramics in the palace were once part of royal family collections.
From journal Travels in Portugal-The best of Lisbon: Part Four
May 30, 2004
From journal Weekend trip to Lisbon