The hidden jewel:
Never has the phrase hidden gem been more appropriate than when describing this wonderful piece of Sintra’s eclectic history. Just a short walk from the historic centre of the town, the Quinta da Regaleira is not your average country house. Built as it stands today by the equally eclectic Brazilian entomologist António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro in the early 20th century, it is a place full of mystery and wonder. A true jewel.
The Initiation Well…
Carvalho Monteiro was a huge patron of the masonic movement. His interest is greatly reflected in the architecture the house and its surrounding gardens. Nowhere is this more evident than in the centrepiece of the whole place; the Initiation Well. We know very little about what exactly went on here. However, its structure is full of the symbolism of both the Freemason and Templar movements. The well imitates the nine circles of hell described in Dante’s Inferno and ends in a huge Rosicrucian cross. The descent down into the depths of the well mimics a spiritual rebirth, one which begins in the dark and ends in the light. Full of twists and turns the well is a fantastic example of precise architecture.
The house itself is a masterpiece. As if transported from some unknown Tim Burton film, grey stones cover the facade. The materials show little sign of wear and tear and appear unaffected by the passage of time. The rooms inside again reflect the various pastimes of the eccentric benefactor that ordered its construction. The dining room is organised in a manner that recalls Portugal`s regal history and the once popular pastime of hunting. Another room has portraits of past Portuguese kings. Once more, reviving the past and imitating the noble houses of old.
The whole estate is unlike anything else you will find anywhere else in the world. It is all incredibly unique, full of hidden stories and new things to discover. So, don’t mis out!!!
Check out our Sintra tour here: https://www.discoverlisbon.org/tours/sintra-tour/