Monday, June 29, 2009

The Palace of Pena on the hills of Sintra

The Palace of Pena in Sintra Hills is a beautiful example of nineteenth century Portuguese Romanticism. Stacey took this picture at the Moorish Castle that was built during the eighth century for fortification. In the Middle Ages a twelfth century chapel was dedicated to Our Lady of Pena. During the fifteenth century it was a Monastery and in the nineteenth century the "New Palace" was constructed by King Fernando II and Dona Maria II.
The pathway up to the castle was beautiful.

The girls were so excited to be at a real castle!
Built in the 1840's, I think it is one of Europe's most fantastic palaces.

We went on a self guided tour all around the palace.
It includes a draw bridge, domes, a Neo-Manueline arch, all washed in an array of pastel shades.

The view of the beautiful city of Sintra is in the background and includes several other palaces.

I was so excited to able to go inside the castle.
It was decorated in late Victorian and Edwardian furnishings, rich ornaments, paintings, and priceless porcelain preserved just as the royal family left them.
The mystical hills are dotted with fairytale palaces and villas. The Romans named it "Cynthia" after the goddess of the moon. Surrounding the palace is Pena Park, filled with a variety of trees and exotic plants from the former colonies of the Portuguese empire.

The romantic gardens were lovely with hydrandges galore.

Stacey loved the gorgeous lush gardens.
Madison loved the beautiful flowers.

Some of the areas were a little scary if you are afraid of heights.

At the top of the castle is where they celebrated the first sight of Vasca da Gama's returning fleet. I love all the historical facts we learned while visiting Sintra.
As you can see we feel in love with this place and took tons of pictures.
I thought it was interesting the way the castle was built right on the rocks.
This little lookout was almost at the top of the palace. This where we took a break and had a little treat. It was so fun visiting this beautiful area. It was one of the favorite places that I visited in Portugal and I would love to go back to this enchanting area again.

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