Larger than life: Art that inspires us through the ages
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By Phil Butler
Sitting high on a lush green hilltop overlooking Lisbon and the Portuguese Riviera, Pena Palace (Palácio da Pena) is a UNESCO World Heritage site, an exclamation point of Portuguese national pride, and a fascinating example of Romantic architecture. This colorful castle is often referred to as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal.
Built between 1839 and 1854, on the orders of King Ferdinand II, the palace sits on the foundations of the sacred chapel Our Lady of Penha and later, a Hieronymite monastery. Baron Wilhelm Ludwig von Schewge is the German architect who created this iconic blend of Neo-Romanesque, Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Indo-Gothic, and Neo-Moorish styles. With active involvement from King Ferdinand and Queen Maria II, the well-traveled architect imbued Pena Palace with an exuberant and eclectic architectural style.
The palace’s exterior retains many of the original elements of the Hieronymite convent that once stood here. The Queen’s Terrace and the unmistakable red clock tower rise in stark contrast to the other sections’ vivid yellow, purple, and pink colors. The palace’s festive appearance seems strangely harmonious, festooned with allegorical carvings, religious icons, and varicolored Portuguese tiles.
Phil Butler is a publisher, editor, author, and analyst who is a widely cited expert on subjects from digital and social media to travel technology. He’s covered the spectrum of writing assignments for The Epoch Times, The Huffington Post, Travel Daily News, HospitalityNet, and many others worldwide.
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