Each pergola, each grotto in this palace and park complex is embraced with mysteries and riddles that scientists from all over the world try to solve for many years.
This wonderful park called Quinta da Regaleira is situated in Portuguese city Sintra, on the territory of the former manor owned by Porto merchant, Regaleira barons.
In 1892 the villa was bought by Brazilian millionaire Carvalho Monteiro, the collector and philanthropist who decided to create garden on its territory. He wished that garden to become reflection of his philosophical and mystical views, to astonish and strike everybody.
Creation of the garden started in 1904 and lasted for six years. For realization of all fantasies and ideas of the new owner they invited famous Italian architect and decorator Luigi Manini who completely shared philosophical and aesthetic views with Monteiro.
Landscape design of the park represents multilayered terraces with intersecting picturesque paths sloping down the hill. The upper part resembles wild woods and the lower one is a developed area.
The park features several styles – Gothic, romanticism, Renascencev and Manuelino.
During construction there were many buildings created and each of them concealed symbols of Knight Templar, Freemasons, Rosicrucians and medieval alchemists. All of them perfectly preserved to these days.
There are numerous grottos, caves, lakes, cozy pergolas and unique sculptures that create special atmosphere of mystery and inscrutability. There is a version that Monteiro wanted this park to be exactly the collection of masonic signs and mysterious symbols.
Even the plants noticed in works of Portugal poet Luís Vaz de Camões bear a special meaning in them.
The park also bears much resemblance with The Divine Comedy by Dante. There are hell, paradise, and purgatory. In the central part of the park there is Dedication well with a depth of 30 m. To go down to it you need to bypass nine levels of spiral staircase symbolizing The Nine Hells.
The bottom of the well features symbol of expiation – the Templars’ cross inscribed into octangular star. This symbol is nothing but the Monteiro emblem. The well is the most mysterious wonder of the garden. As there still isn’t officially known whether Monteiro was a mason or a member of other secret order.
There are also the Ibis Hall. the Greek gods’ terrace and of course numerious symbols of Order of Knights Templars.
Four-storey building of the castle is a true adornment of the complex. Its architecture is typical for Portugal. White age-darkened stone used for construction of the mansion looks especially romantic against the background of the bright flora.
The castle is made in neomanuelino style. Manuelino is an extremely popular style in Portugal of 15-16 centuries. It features rock-hewn flowery images of plants, chimeras and animals.
The front of the building is abundantly decorated with gargoyles, gothic towers and various capitals. It is also crowned with octagonal tower that contains the leda cave.
The most part of decorative finish of the walls preserved in the castle. There is also the wealthiest Monteiro library but no more remained of the old interior. In the days of Carvalho Monteiro there were a dining-room, a sitting-room, a cloakroom, a billiard room and the owner’s bedroom located on the first floor. The second floor featured a workroom and rooms for housemaids. The third floor included a small room with a terrace and a premise for ironing. The basement accommodated bedrooms for male servants, storage structures and a kitchen equipped with an elevator for climbing dishes to the dining-room.
In 1942 the owner of the mansion became Waldemar d’Orey who used it as a private residence. At the end of the 80s’ the castle became the property of Aoki corporation (Japan). However since 1996 Quinta da Regaleira belongs to Sintra city administration and is opened for visitors.