Queluz National Palace is located in the city of Queluz, midway between Lisbon and Sintra on the Linha de Sintra railway line, making it an easy day trip from Lisbon.
Occupied by three generations of the Portuguese Royal Family, the palace reflects the architectural evolution from Baroque to Rococo and onto Neoclassicism.
The Thorne Room, designed by French architect Jean-Baptiste Robillon, is the largest of the reception halls in the Palace. The room is of Rococo style, heavily guilded, with mirrors reflecting the light from the chandeliers, and French windows that open directly onto the garden.
The room today still hosts concerts and official functions, such as the banquets hosted by the President for heads of state and monarchs on their official visits to Portugal.
Capped by an onion dome, the Chapel, completed in 1752, is one of the oldest sections of the Palace. The decorative carved giltwood, highlighted in red, green, blue and pink was the work of the Portuguese master carver Silvestre Faria Lobo. The canvases applied over the wood, conveys an opulence that was specific to the Baroque and Rococo styles. There is also a small Rococo pipe organ (currently being restored) in one of the galleries.
After the chapel there are several rooms with interesting artifacts, such as this elegant wooden stand enclosing a pot
Or the display of dinning set backed by a Chinese beverage dispenser
Or an elaborated chest
The Corridor of Sleeves connects the old royal residence with the new building. The Neo-classical, multi-coloured ceramic tile panels depict the Four Seasons and the Four Continents. This is where the glass sleeves or protective tubes (used to keep candles away from draughts) were supposedly kept, hence the name “Corridor of Sleeves“.
The Ambassadors Room was formerly known as the Hall of Columns or Room of Serenades, alluding to the concerts staged here during Pedro III and Maria I’s time. The painting in the large central ceiling depicts the royal family attending a concert.
The room became known as the Ambassadors Room during King João VI’s time. It is the place where nobility, members of the court and diplomatic envoys and ambassadors kiss the hand and pay homage to the monarch.
The West wing, adjacent to the Ambassadors Room, accomodates private rooms of many monarchs who inhabited the Palace (D. Pedro III, D. João VI, D. Carlota Joaquina, D. Miguel, D. Pedro IV).
The Robillion Pavilion includes the Don Quixote Room. The architecture of this room creates the illusion of a circular space through the layout of the eight pillars that cut off the corners and hold up the ceiling cupola. The name, Don Quixote, derives from the paintings in the cove and over the doors depicting scenes from the life of Don Quixote de La Mancha, by Cervantes. This room was the site of the birth of seven of the nine children born to João VI and Carlota Joaquina. One of them, Prince Pedro – first Emperor of Brazil and King of Portugal – also died here, at the age of 35, due to tuberculosis.
Queluz is known for its gardens.
The Flemish influences, including the canals, in the garden are the work of the Dutch gardener Gerald van der Kolk, who assisted Robillon from 1760. The fountain, featuring Neptune(Poseiden) with dolphins and tritons, has been attributed to Bernini, who copied an earlier design sculpted by Ercole Ferrata.
The tiled canal, through which the Jamor river passes, is 115 meters long and crosses the Queluz gardens from north to south.
The design is of Rococco style, characterised by greater expressiveness and creative freedom.
Last but not least – a fact that is not well publicized – located in a corner of the Queluz gardens is the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art. Created to promote the teaching, practice and promotion of the Portuguese traditional Equestrian Art, it is one of the most prestigious classical riding academies in the world.
The School can be visited between 11am and 1pm Tuesday through Saturday. We got there just past 1pm and only got to walk around the stables.
With the additional 8€, one could visit the Queen Amelia Stables, learn about the history of the School, attend the grooming activities, get to know the horses, and possibly attend a daily practice at the riding ring of the gardens.
The graduer of the Queluz Palace and the relaxing atomosphere of its gardens provide a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of Lisbon. Its accessibility by public transportation makes it a good choice for visitors of Lisbon who, after seeing all the bigger sights, want an easy day immersed in architecture and history, minus the crowds.
By the time we got out of the palace, we were looking for a restaurant for lunch. We followed our instinct and picked Retiro da Mina, where the clientele is mostly local Portuguese. We had rabbit, fried jaquinzinhos fish and grilled sardines. Down-to-the-earth cooking, reasonaly priced.
Palace of Queluz (Wikipedia) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Queluz
Parques de Sintra Official Website: https://www.parquesdesintra.pt/pt/parques-monumentos/palacio-nacional-e-jardins-de-queluz/
Coming up next: Arrival in Munich