Friday, May 13, 2011

Sintra, Portugal and the Pena National Palace

Sintra, Portugal
Palacio Nacional Da Pena (Pena National Palace)

unused, from 2011

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Sintra is a town in Sintra Municipality in Portugal, located in the Grande Lisboa subregion and the Lisbon Region. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site on account of its 19th century Romantic architecture. It has a population of c. 33,000 inhabitants.

The National Palace:
It's history started in the Middle Ages when a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Pena was built on the top of the hill above Sintra. According to tradition, the construction occurred after an apparition of the Virgin Mary.

In 1493, King John II, accompanied by his wife Queen Leonor, made a pilgrimage to the site. His successor, King Manuel I, was also very fond of this sanctuary, and ordered the construction there of a monastery which was donated to the Order of Saint Jerome. For centuries Pena was a small, quiet place for meditation, housing a maximum of eighteen monks.

In the 18th century the monastery was severely damaged by lightning. However, it was the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, occurring shortly afterwards, that took the heaviest toll on the monastery, reducing it to ruins. Nonetheless, the chapel and its magnificent works of marble and alabaster escaped without significant damage.

For many decades the ruins remained untouched, but they still astonished young prince Ferdinand. In 1838, as King consort Ferdinand II, he decided to acquire the old monastery, all of the surrounding lands, the nearby Castle of the Moors and a few other estates in the area. King Ferdinand then set out to transform the remains of the monastery into a palace that would serve as a summer residence for the Portuguese royal family.The construction took place between 1842–1854.

After the death of Ferdinand the palace passed into the possession of his second wife Elisa Hensler, Countess of Edla. The latter then sold the palace to King Luís, who wanted to retrieve it for the royal family, and thereafter the palace was frequently used by the family. In 1889 it was purchased by the Portuguese State, and after the Republican Revolution of 1910 it was classified as a national monument and transformed into a museum.

The palace quickly drew visitors and became one of Portugal's most visited monuments. Over time the colors of the red and yellow façades faded, and for many years the palace was visually identified as being entirely gray. By the end of the 20th century the palace was repainted and the original colors restored, much to the dismay of many Portuguese who were not aware that the palace had once displayed such chromatic variety.
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Two more cards ....
Terraco da Rainha / Queen's Terrace

fotos: Nuno Antunes

postmarked in 2012 with a Portugal '0,80 Eunice Munoz' stamp
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Porta das Colunas
Gate of the Twisted Columns

Foto: Luis Pavao

unused, from 2012
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Portugal - Stamp 2011
Eunice Munoz 0,80

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Eunice Muñoz, (born July 30, 1928) is a Portuguese actress who was born in Amareleja, Portugal. She studied at the Portuguese National Conservatory.


Miguel Oliveira said...

I think it's one of my cards from Köln meeting :D

I LOVE that Palace!!!

9teen87 said...

Hi Miguel,

Yep, I got this one from you in Koln :D