Not so far from the city center of the marvellous city of Sintra in Portugal, there is one of the most enigmatic places if the region. In the property of 40,000 m² (430,000 ft²) there are gardens, fountains, statues, wells, caves and an incredible palace, which are, since 1995 UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After having changes throughout the centuries many owners (one of whom being the baroness of Regaleira), the building was bought by the rich coffee seller Antonio Augusto de Carvalho Monteiro (called “the Millionaire”), that in 1904 started building up the Palace of his dreams, helped by the architect and set designer Luigi Manini.
Below: view of the Palace and part of the garden. Picture shared via Wikipedia – licence Creative Commons
In the construction there are more styles melting together: gothic and renaissance to which esoteric and alchemical symbols are added up.
The great palace counts a little chapel enriched with frescos and stained glass windows; however the most suggestive part is its rich and luxury outdoor area, the dream of Monteiro come true, where a tunnel labyrinth creates 2 spiral walls known as “Inverted Towers”.
The spiral structure supposedly holds the meaning of death and rebirth, allegory common in many Hermetical theories.
The biggest well has 9 floors, perhaps representing the 9 circles of Hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy as well as the 9 terraces of the Purgatory and 9 spheres of Heaven.
Below: the initiation well, picture shared via Wikipedia – licence Creative Commons
At the bottom of the well there is a mosaic where it is represented a Templar cross. The initiation purpose of the well seems obvious, but which was its use an which rites were there performed are still unknown.
The Quinta da Regaleira, from 1997 owned by the council of Sintra, is holds every year cultural events, concerts, theatrical shows and it’s also open to the public.
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