Palace of the Marquises of Fronteira

Lisbon, Portugal

The Palace of the Marquesses of Fronteira was built in 1671 as a hunting pavilion to Dom João de Mascarenhas, 1st Marquis of Fronteira, who received his title from King Afonso VI of Portugal for his loyalty to the House of Braganza in the Portuguese Restoration War.

The house and the garden have glazed tiles representing different themes such as battles or monkeys playing trumpets. The Room of the Battles has panels representing scenes of the Portuguese Restoration War; one of them shows D. João de Mascarenhas fighting a Spanish general. The dining room is decorated with portraits representing some members of the Portuguese nobility, painted by artists such as Domingos António de Sequeira.

The chapel, dating from the end of the 16th century, is the oldest part of the palace. The façade is adorned with stones, shells, broken glass and porcelains. It seems that those pieces were used during the palace’s inauguration and were broken on purpose just not to be used again.

In spite of being the current residence of the Marquis of Fronteira some of the rooms, the library and the garden are open to public visits.

The palace garden, an area of 5,5 hectare, is adorned with Portuguese tiles with pictures that represent the different arts as well as mythological figures. The garden hedges are cut in order to represent the different year seasons. There is also a stone staircase which leads to a wall line with busts of the Kings of Portugal.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1671
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Portugal

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Thomas Hallauer (2 months ago)
We went on a Saturday and only the garden was open. Until 1:30 pm. Would have been a great place to visit with context but the ticket did not include any info. Overall very kitch/messed up/broken
Ricardo Rezk (3 months ago)
This private palace is open to the public through guided tours only. Today (2/23/19) they only offered tours at 11am and 12pm. I got there at 10:55am, on time for the first group. Tours today were given in Portuguese, French and English. I did the tour in Portuguese; the fact that we were only 4 people in the Portuguese group made it feel very private, which is great in a house still inhabited by its owners. Tour guides are very knowledgeable. The outdoors are very nice too. If you come all the way here, do the tour inside the house.
Ilse Hamming (3 months ago)
What a beautiful garden! For me the prettiest place seen in Lisbon
Wojciech Nagrodzki (8 months ago)
Charming residence. The guide (a lovely British lady) shared a bit of history of this noble family, showed us around and left us craving even more of the stories. The place was being renovated the time I visited, nevertheless I really recommend it, it is going to be beautiful once restored.
Maja Bakarić (9 months ago)
Incredible place! You can either buy a ticket just for the garden, which is amazing, or a combo with a guided tour (in English or Portuguese) for the palace. Tours are not scheduled on every hour so try to find out when they are, we had two hours to spare, but we explored the garden at that time, even set there for half an hour and rest. Garden is definitely a must see, palace is much more modest compared to it, but out tour guide was very knowledgeable and gave us plenty of information and details.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.