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The history behind Quinta da Regaleira | Exploring the castle’s legacy

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Quinta da Regaleira is a fascinating and enigmatic estate located near Lisbon in Sintra. The estate is renowned for its mysterious and unique features, sparking curiosity about its origins. It was constructed by a quirky Free Mason and includes the intriguing Initiation Well, along with numerous Pagan and occult symbols.

The estate comprises a Romantic-style palace and chapel, set within a lavish park filled with lakes, grottoes, wells, benches, fountains, and various remarkable structures. Understanding the history of Quinta da Regaleira is essential for appreciating its charm and significance before your visit.

Tickets to Quinta da Regaleira

Before it was known as Quinta da Regaleira (1697 to 1830)

Quinta da Regaleira, a UNESCO site in Sintra

Historical records about Quinta da Regaleira before Carvalho Monteiro's purchase are limited. In 1697, José Leite owned a large estate on the outskirts of Sintra, which is now part of the Quinta. In 1715, Francisco Albertino Guimarães de Castro acquired the property, then known as Quinta da Torre or do Castro, at a public auction. He directed water from the mountains to supply an existing fountain on the estate.

Transition to Quinta da Regaleira (1830 to 1892)

In 1830, under Manuel Bernardo's ownership, the estate was named Quinta da Regaleira. In 1840, it was acquired by the daughter of a Porto businesswoman named Allen, who was later titled the 1st Baroness of Regaleira, also known as the Baroness of Almeida. During this period, a country house was built on the property, which can be seen in some illustrations from the late 19th century.

Carvalho Monteiro buys the property (1892)

Quinta da Regaleira

In 1892, António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro, a Brazilian-Portuguese businessman, collector, bibliophile, entomologist, and Freemason, purchased the property for 25,000 réis. Monteiro aimed to create a captivating estate where he could gather symbols that represented his diverse interests and ideologies.

The transformation with Luigi Manini (1904 to 1910)

With the help of Italian architect Luigi Manini, António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro transformed the 4-hectare estate. They introduced enigmatic buildings featuring symbols associated with alchemy, Masonry, the Knights Templar, and the Rosicrucians. Manini's architecture incorporated Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, and Manueline styles. Construction of the current estate began in 1904 and was largely completed by 1910.

The Waldemar D'Orey era (1942)

Quinta da Regaleira - Interiors of the Chapel

In 1942, the renowned Quinta da Regaleira was purchased by millionaire Waldemar D'Orey. He promptly hired prominent architects Luís de Couto and António Lino to remodel the palace's interior to better suit his large family, removing some decorative elements in the process.

Aoki Corporation's ownership (1987)

In 1987, Japan's Aoki Corporation acquired Quinta da Regaleira for private functions, ending its use as a residence. For reasons unknown, Aoki Corporation kept the estate closed to the public for 10 years.

Opening to the public (1998)

In 1997, the Sintra Town Council acquired Quinta da Regaleira and began extensive restoration efforts. The estate opened to the public in June 1998 and started hosting cultural events. In August 1998, the Portuguese Ministry of Culture designated Quinta da Regaleira as a "public interest property."

Quinta da Regaleira History
History of Quinta da Regaleira