Pena, National Palace of

   High above the National Palace of Sintra, on the top of the Sintra mountain range, lies Pena Palace, a product of 19th-century imagination and work. Constructed during the 1840s and 1850s, following the acquisition of a ruined ancient convent on the site, the palace was built by the consort of Queen Maria II, the German prince Ferdinand. It was destined to become the favorite summer residence of the royal family, a cooler spot than even the National Palace in the square below and with a view unmatched in Portugal. From the top of Pena Palace, on a clear day, one can see the Atlantic Ocean to the west and north and Lisbon to the east and south.
   The palace's romantic situation overlooking Sintra and beyond, a place made famous in 19th-century English literature by the writings of Lord Byron and William Beckford and a host of lesser-known travelers, is fully supported in the bizarre architecture of the building itself. Designed by a German military architect, Baron Von Eschweg, whose statue stands nearby on another mountain peak, so that his spirit may contemplate his famous handiwork, the palace's styles combine ancient, medieval, and modern forms. To visitors who know Disney World castles, Pena may appear to be a Magic Kingdom building. In addition to the Gothic and Manueline architectural styles, the Moorish touch is present in towers and a minaret. The interior rooms are rich in azulejos and historic furniture of the Victorian era.
   See also Architecture.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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