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I was not sure about the Masonic origins of the mansion of my last post from the Dominican Republic when I posted it, but now that such fact is confirmed, I thought that was a good pretext to show you this mysterious palace that is full of enigmatic symbols (* see note below).

The palace, known as Palácio (or Quinta) da Regaleira, was built in the late 19th century, but there were already older constructions on the site at that time. His owner, António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro, was one of those 19th century figures who liked to spend much of their large wealth in various things like Science and Art in general, Architecture in particular and also in esoteric things like Alchemy, Masonry, Templar Knights and Rosicrucianism. He inherited a huge family fortune that he expanded in Brazil, where he was born, selling coffee and precious stones (he was known in the press of the time as "Monteiro of the Millions"). He hired the Italian architect Luigi Manini to build this palace, which is an intricated mix of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Manueline (a kind of Portuguese late Gothic) styles.

It is located on a hill near the centre of the charming historic town of Sintra, which is classified by Unesco as World Heritage, only a few Kms West of Lisboa. From its windows and balconies one has fabulous views over the neighbouring densely forested hills of Serra de Sintra, which features a Moorish castle just beside a Romantic palace and also the Atlantic coast that lies just a few Kms to the West, to the left of this photo (the haze doesn't allow its sight).

The palace was used for shooting some scenes of the 1999 Roman Polanski's film "The Ninth Gate", which featured famous actors like Johny Depp, Lena Olin and Emmanuelle Seigner. Not surprisingly it is a mystery film.

I posted a WS with a closer view of the statues and another one showing a fountain in the gardens.

Location (latitude, longitude): 38.79633,-9.39614

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* Update 10-Oct-2007: Initially I titled this post "Another Masonic building" and I wrote that it was full of Masonic symbols. I did this because I have always heard about the the abundance of Masonic symbols in the place and it is quite quite common to hear it mentioned in discussions related to Masonry and other esoteric movements. Then ribeiroantonio pointed that not everybody agrees that the enigmatic design and decorations of the building are related with Masonry and that the place was actually used to any esoteric ceremony or initiation rituals.

Update 7-Nov-2007: I posted another photo of this place.

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Additional Photos by Jose Pires (stego) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4422 W: 612 N: 7301] (24132)
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