On the highest peaks of the Serra de Sintra stands the spectacular Palace of Pena. This eclectic medley of architectural styles was constructed within the nineteenth century for the husband of the young Queen Maria II (r. 1834- 53), Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha – King Dom Fernando II of Portugal. It stands over the ruins of a Hieronymite monastery based here within the fifteenth century on the location of the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Pena. The outlandish rooms of the enchanting summer palace are full of oddities from all around the world. The monarchy was overthrown in 1910 and with the declaration of the Republic, the palace became a museum, preserved as it was when the royal household lived right here.
BARON VON ESCHWEGE SPAIN
In 1839, Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha acquired the well-positioned land of a former monastery and appointed the German architect Baron von Eschwege to construct a wonderful summer palace. Von Eschwege turned the king’s extravagant desires into reality and, over the next decade, he erected a fantasy palace around the restored ruins of the monastery. On a close-by crag is the statue of a warrior-knight that supposedly guards the palace. It is a gigantic stone sculpture whose base bears an engraving of the baron’s coat of arms.
Ferdinand’s passion for the humanities, and for scientific progress, resuted in an eclectic mixture of architectural styles that included Gothic, Renaissance and components of the rich, indigenous Portugeuse style, Manueline. Painted in shades of pink, blue, and yellow, the outside of the construction is lavishly carved or coated with azulejo tile arrangements, with golden domes, crenellated turrets, and gargoyles.
Sintra has long been thought to be a fascinating place of excellent beauty, internationally revered by kings, noblemen, and artists. In 1809, the English poet Lord Byron described its verdant magnificence as “glorious Eden“. The Palace of Pena’s garish union of styles, induding exotic Gothic traces, made it a forerunner of European Romanticism. The encircling grounds of the Parque da Pena are additionally of striking romantic beauty, crammed with unique bushes and shrubs.