Quinta da Regaleira, also known as The Palace of Mystery in Sintra, is a beautiful place full of history, myths, symbolism and has a magical vibe. Even though most tourists are attracted to visit the eccentric 19th Century gothic Palacio da Regaleira and its mysterious Initiation Well, it really started with 'Da Torre', a 17th century tower which could have just stepped out of a deck of Tarot cards.
This tower is the centre of what over time developed into a magical five-pointed property where one wanders mesmerized through the stunning gardens full of lakes, fountains, grottoes and wells and a vast array of architectural wonders.
Most of these creations originated between 1904-1910 with designs by the Italian architect Luigi Manini commissioned by former owner, António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro.
There is so much to see, to learn and to take in. Lief and Sol explored the grounds, armed with maps and cameras at the high pace of paparazzi. Tracy and Kiki took it all in at a slower pace.
Manini embedded the buildings and structures with many symbols related to alchemy, the Knights Templar, the Rosicrusians and Masonry, blending designs with Roman, Gothic and Renaissance styles.
Sculptures with mythical stories are abundant in the park, whether placed in a 'Gruta' (grotto), 'Fonte de Agua' (water fountain) or on the 'Patamar dos Deuses' (path of the Gods)
We were all intrigued by the ''Poco Iniciatico' (Initiation Well) and 'Poco Imperfeito (Unfinished Well), a pair of upside down towers spiralling deep within the earth. The Initiation Well has many underground caves and tunnels leading to different exits. These wells were not used for water collection, but instead were used for secretive initiation rituals.
The 88 feet (27 meters) descent into the earth on a staircase divided with 9 platforms has symbolic meaning including the death/rebirth allegory common to many hermetic traditions. One of the underground tunnels leads to a symbolic exit where one walks upon water.
Written and created by Kiki