Royal Palace

The Royal Palace is located at Largo Rainha Dona Amélia. It is the only royal palace from the Middle Ages that survives in Portugal. Sintra is beautiful and fresh and there is an abundance of deer in the area, and these were probably the reasons that the kings of Portugal chose this area to build the Royal Palace, for a summer vacation and for hunting. The Royal Palace was built in a former building used as the Moorish governor’s palace, originally built in the 8th century. King Afonso Henriques conquered the area in 1147 and since then there have been several renovations of the palace. King Dinis renovated it in 1281, Joao I renovated it in the 15th century, Manuel I renovated it in the 16th century, and the palace had to be renovated after the 1755 earthquake. The palace was declared a National Monument in 1910 and is one of the most visited monuments in the country.

The chapel is the oldest part of the palace and is decorated in the Mudejar style, using glazed tiles with Moorish accents. The kitchen is interesting and has two chimneys that are 33 meters high. The Hall dos Brasoes is a square room that is topped with an octagonal cupola that has 72 coats of arms of nobles. The Hall of King Alphonse VI remembers the king who was locked up as a prisoner for 9 years by his brother Peter II until he died of a stroke in 1683. The Hall das Serenas has mosaics on the walls and paintings of mermaids. The Arab Room has many glazed tiles with a geometric design. The Hall dos Cisnes is a banquet room for important visitors and is named after the 27 swans painted on the ceiling. The legend says that King Joao ordered the swans painted for the birthday of Princess Elizabeth, because swans were her favorite animal. The Hall das Pegas shows 136 magpies as ladies.