National Palace and Museum, Sintra (must see)
The palace is known to have the most extensive collection of Mudéjar artifacts and Azulejo tiles in the world. Long after the reconquest of Sintra by Afonso Henriques in 1139, King Dinis proclaimed in 1281 that the maintenance of the palace should be the responsibility of the enfranchised Moors residing there.
In 1415 King John I constructed the main body of the palace complex around the central courtyard, called John's Wing. The facade of the main building has entrance arches and mullioned bifora windows in Manueline and Mudejar styles. The building has twin giant conical chimneys towering above enormous medieval kitchens.
Besides the circus-sized kitchens, King John I installed several rooms. The Swan Room has swans painted on the ceiling, celebrating the marriage of Philip the Good of Burgundy to his third wife, Isabela of Portugal.
The Magpie room has dozens of magpies painted on the ceiling and the frieze. The birds carry the message "For Good" in their beaks. The number of Magpies equaled the number of ladies of the court. The ladies had been gossiping about John stealing a kiss from a lady-in-waiting. He got his revenge by having the gossipers painted as chattering magpies.
Other rooms, from the reign of King Manuel I, include the Coat of Arms Room in the Manuel's Wing. The room has a coffered wooden ceiling with the coats of arms of 72 noble families of Portugal. The Golden Chamber was a receiving room for royalty. The Grotto of the Baths is covered in tile pictures of the Creation.
The palace was declared a National Monument in 1910 and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995. The palace opens daily from 9:30 am to 7 pm.
Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Sintra. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.
National Palace and Museum on Map
Walking Tours in Sintra, Portugal
The diversity of styles found here is rich –... view more
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles
In 1147 the... view more
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles