суббота, 13 февраля 2016 г.

Quinta da Regaleira (31.10.15)

After spending the first evening in Portugal walking around Lisbon streets without any specific purpose, just enjoying the sights, next morning we took a train to Sintra. The weather on that day was perfect: rainless (which is not a usual thing for this region in autumn) and warm (almost +20°C after around 0°C in Saint Petersburg two days earlier).

When you arrive in Sintra, you soon understand: it is an extraordinary place. Just several hundred meters away from the station, unusual buildings start to attract your attention. And it is only the very beginning of wonders awaiting you here.


Our first destination was Quinta da Regaleira. That estate had many owners, one of whom was entomologist, collector and mystic António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro, also known as Monteiro the Millionaire. Quinta da Regaleira owes him its present appearance. Here is what comes into the world when an entomologist a mystic descends from a wealthy family:


The estate is full of symbols related to the most famous conspiracies the world have ever known: Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, Knights Templar (even though the last organization is considered as a mystical one mostly due to the influence of a popular culture over the last two centuries), etc. I was sorry for not reading some book about Quinta da Regaleira estate before the travel (or at least, a good article. The one in Wikipedia is good only regarding advertising this place) to learn the motives behind each spot in that park. Just wandering in Quinta da Regaleira is a breathtaking experience. What would it be like if I understood this place?

The park features a system of tunnels and caves, which strengthen the feeling that you have come to a fabulous place. These hardly lit underground passages lead you from one fairy location to another one.

First I was surprised coming across this greenish lake, because I hadn't seen it in the Wiki article. Later I found out that this "necromantic" lake "magically" turns to a normal one in another season.


It was Quinta da Regaleira what prompted me to choose Portugal as a travel destination. More precisely, it was one of the park spots what attracted my attention when I came across a photo of it somewhere on the Web. Even one of that spot names sounds intriguing. Have you ever heard of "inverted/underground towers"? Here is one of them:


It is the so-called Initiation Well linked to the Tarot mysticism. Nowadays it serves not only as a place of interest but also as a junction of two levels of the park. 27-meter spiral staircase leads you to the higher level of Dante's Inferno. Nine circles of hell represented by nine terraces are the main concept underlying the park layout.


You don't feel the power of this place, you don't feel its relationship to dark things? Then just switch the daylight off.

Finally, here is the Regaleira Palace, a nice example of the Manueline, or Portuguese late Gothic.


After what you've seen outdoors before, you won't be captivated by the interior of the palace. Probably, even the two-storied library won't fascinate you much although the concept behind it is amazing: while standing on the upper storey, you see books everywhere, both above you and below, on the walls of the lower storey, barred to the public.

The exciting day in the wondrous town wasn't even halfway through. Still strolling the terraces of Quinta da Regaleira, look up.


Look closely at these two photos and on the mountain peaks you'll notice the large castle (above) and a palace of many different colors (below).


You'll be able to follow us there on foot (if you walk on foot in your imagination), but that is the story for the next time. Stay tuned! 

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