Monday, February 7, 2011
Palácio Nacional sits at the heart of Sintra. Originally built by the Moors in the 10th century, it was extensively renovated in the 14th and 15th centuries and remains the one of the best preserved medieval palaces in all of Europe. Nacional is our first taste of a palace and it was fascinating to wander through its mixture of Moorish, Gothic and Manueline styles. From the Christian chapel, with a very distinct Islamic flair, to the swan room with its ceiling entirely covered in swans as ordered by a sad king who desperately missed his swan-loving daughter, to the magpie room whose ceiling is painted with magpies chattering "por bom" (for the best) to teach his court a lesson about gossiping about the king after he was caught kissing a lady-in-waiting, it was a very eclectic experience. After meandering our way through the entire palace we reached the highlight for me, a huge kitchen with the two towering chimneys that make it so distinctive from the outside, completely equipped with the state of the art cooking tools of the time, including huge copper pots, a gigantic spit for roasting a whole cow, and a plate warming cupboard.
Click aqui for photos.