The Pena National Palace is an imposing ancient palace that is located on top of a hill above the town of Sintra in Portugal. It is considered as a national monument and is considered to be one of the foremost expressions of Romanticist architecture. The palace is also included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is also considered as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal.
Pena National Palace History
The site of the Pena National Palace was initially home to a chapel that was built in the Middle Ages and dedicated to Our Lady of Pena. It then became a monastery sometime in the late 1400’s and was for centuries, a place for meditation and a home to a maximum of 18 monks. Sometime in the 18th Century, the monastery was severely damaged by lightning and was further damaged by the Great Lisbon Earthquake in 1755 where it was left in ruins. The chapel however remained without suffering any significant damage.
It was Ferdinand II who eventually decided to have a palace built among the monastery ruins. Construction of the palace took place sometime between 1842 and 1854, although the palace was already considered almost completed by 1847. The building of the palace was commissioned to Baron Wilhelm Ludwig von Eschwege. Ferdinand and Queen Maria II also have a hand in the designs and decoration of the palace. It was Ferdinand II who suggested several medieval and Islamic elements be added into the palace design.
Pena National Palace Features
The Pena National Palace was designed with a mix of several architectural styles that are similar to expressions of the Romanticism. Design influences from the Neo-Gothic, Neo-Renaissance, Neo-Manueline and Islamic architectural styles are evident in its different structures. The entire palace stands on rock and can be divided into four sections- the foundations and the walls, the restored old convent and clock tower, the Arches Yard in front of the chapel and the palatial area.