The Palace of the Dukes of Braganza was begun in 1501 and completed in the 17C. I popped out to photograph the Palace and the square on several occasions – the buildings and their setting are magnificent! A guided tour enables you to view the first floor of the Ducal Palace and the private apartments in the side wing, with additional opportunities to see the Treasury, the China Collection, and the Coach Museum.
Photography is not allowed inside the Palace, but the images below are on the internet. Do take a tour, even if you don’t understand Portuguese – the interior is wonderful, and there are antique Arraiolos carpets as a bonus!
The formal gardens lie behind the main buildings and as they are being restored are not yet open to the public. I have also found them describe as Jardims das Damas.
The Chapel Royal lies to the side of the private apartments and can of course be accessed through the Palace as well as through an ornate doorway in the ground-level Cloister.
There are curious snake-like figures on the capital of one of the columns in the Cloister. I believe that this represents immortality, and although I did not see it during my visit I believe there is a Baroque cross (Cruzeiro) outside the Church of Nossa Senhora da Lapa in Vila Vicosa which has a serpent instead of the figure of Christ. I wonder if there is any connection?
The Collection of China, Ming China, is hidden inside the Palace – do not miss this collection – it is elegant, beautifully displayed, probably priceless, and hidden behind locked doors. Imagine several rooms filled with blue and white china like the vase below…
The National Coach Museum of Portugal is in Lisbon but there is a branch in the Ducal Palace. The Coach Museum is housed in the three blocks of Palace Stables – nearly 80 vehicles in excellent condition in immaculate buildings. Doors are firmly locked as you leave each building.
We left the Ducal Palace through the Gateway of Knots after an amazing visit!
You may be interested in
Photographs of the interior of the Ducal Palace
The Ducal Palace in Vila Viçosa
Creating the Museum of the Ducal Palace
The Church of Nossa Senhora da Lapa & the Cruzeiro – interesting Portuguese blogsite
The Patrimony of Portugal – comprehensive website which I find tricky to use
The National Coach Museum
A lovely post but I don’t fancy cleaning all those copper cooking pans or trimming all the topiary for that matter!
The garden topiary was incredible – from a distance it seemed hardly a leaf was out of place and accompanied by screeching peacocks and sunshine it was quite magical. We tried to find out how the copper was kept shining but speaking no Portuguese prevented us from finding out. The copper was all the same colour and I wondered if it was coated with something, rather than simply polished.