Sintra is a town in the Sintra hills to the west of Lisbon. The Sintra hills was the summer hang-out for the rich and famous, and to some extent, still is. The simple reason is that Lisbon can become quite warm in the summer. I can attest to the fact and I was there in May... Well, in the hills things get cooled down with winds blowing in from the Atlantic, close by. To that I can attest as well, as the fog continued to open and close all the time when I visited Pena.
In 1838, King Ferdinand II acquired the former Hieronymite monastery of Our Lady of Pena, which had been built by King Manuel I in 1511 on the top of the hill above Sintra and had been left unoccupied since 1834 when the religious orders were disbanded in Portugal. The monastery consisted of the cloister and its outbuildings, the chapel, the sacristy and the bell tower, which today form the northern section of the Palace of Pena, or the Old Palace as it is known. The picture top left and the reddish building refers.
In roughly 1843, the king decided to enlarge the palace by building a new wing (the New Palace) with even larger rooms (the Great Hall is a good example of this), ending in a circular tower next to the new kitchens. The building work was directed by the Baron of Eschwege. The picture, top right, refers. Specifically the yellow tower and the greyish building right next to it.
King Ferdinand also ordered the Park of Pena to be planted in the Palace’s surrounding areas in the style of the romantic gardens of that time, with winding paths, pavilions and stone benches placed at different points along its routes, as well as trees and other plants originating from the four corners of the earth. In this way, the king took advantage of the mild and damp climate of the Sintra hills to create an entirely new and exotic park with over five hundred different species of trees.
For those who don't know, Ferdinand II was a cousin to Prince Albert of Queen Victoria and like his cousin he loved arts and nature. He was also an accomplished watercolour painter. Ferdinand Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was married to Queen Maria II.
Bottom right is the first entrance to the palace. The cherub is a detail I have seen among the thousands of tiles, all over the place. For instance the greyish building in picture top right is covered in tiles. A close-up of those tiles is the background for this montage.