After our visit to the Pena Palace in Sintra we head towards Quinta da Regaleira. Now not all tours mention this place in their itinerary so you will have to look carefully whether it is mentioned in the day tour to Sintra or not.
I wanted to see the place majorly to see The Initiation Well, a subterranean tower sinking 27 meters into the earth accessible by a monumental stairway, full of masonic, esoteric and alchemical symbols. A photographer’s delight!.
Anyway before I mention more about the Initiation Well, lets capture the other parts that we found in Quinta Da Regaleira. The place is on the Unesco’s World Heritage list and is surrounded by lush green garden.
You will receive a map at the ticket counter which guides you The Palace, the Chapel, The Gods Promenade, The Portal of the Guardians, The Underground Walkways and lastly The Initiation Well. The palace is also known as “The Palace of Monteiro the Millionaire”, which is based on the nickname of its best known former owner, António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro. The palace was designed by the italian architect Luigi Manini. The construction of the current estate commenced in 1904 and much of it was completed by 1910.
The Pics of the estate.
And now about the Initiation Well, these are two tunnels dug into earth lined with stairs. Out of the two wells, the larger one contains a 27-meter spiral staircase with nine levels of 15 steps, signifying nine levels of Hell from Dante’s Inferno. It’s believed these “initiation wells” were used to perform Mason / Tarot initiation rites and rituals, although nothing is known for sure about their purpose.
The smaller well contains straight stairs that connect a series of ring-shaped floors to one another. This well is called the ‘Unfinished Well’.
From the top of the well you see the spiral steps down to the pit of the earth and from the bottom you see life of light and sunshine of the surface. It was fun to go down the stairs and click some awesome photographs.