Jardim Botânico d'Ajuda

Discover travel destinations of travelers writing a travel journal on FindPenguins.
Travelers at this place
    • Day 9

      National Palace of Ajuda

      April 30, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      Doug wanted to be out the door at 8 but we left at 8: 30, a rather long wait for the bus to take us the 30 min out to Jeronimos Monastery. He feared there would be a long line and indeed there was. Confusing to figure out where to get tickets, long line and then nothing there but two digital ticket machines but there was a helper who advised we could enter directly by just showing the Lisbon card (other places have required we show it, get a ticket and then present it. Debated about the 45 minute estimated wait time and decided to come back, so hopped on a bus up to this more recently built palace and home to the last reigning King who was assassinated along with his eldest son in 1908. The younger son King Manuel II was 20 when he assumed the title but was exiled along with his mother Amelia in 1910 when the Republic was formed and they were offered a place to stay by a relative royal in Italy; Amelia lived until 1951. Conclusions: Portuguese history is confusing and not helped by many of the people bearing very similar names, especially all the Marias! This was built post quake as a new Royal Residence but seems most did not want to live here full time (maybe too big?). Seemed to largely be a show place of opulence and fine art. Those that did make it their home moved into ever smaller rooms rooms as they aged. It is the usual sudden end to monarchies in Europe due to the great divide between nobility and the average guy. Well worth the visit.

      Built in 1795, this was Portugal’s last royal palace. When the royal residence in what is now Praça do Comércio on the waterfront was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1755, the king decided that it was safer to live up on a hill. The chosen location was Ajuda, just above Belém, which had been less affected by the disaster.

      It was meant to be one of the largest palaces in Europe and the world, with gardens cascading down to the river, but only about one fifth of the original project was completed. When Napoleon’s army invaded Portugal in 1807, the royal family fled to Brazil (and actually reigned from the colony for several years), so the construction was interrupted. By the time the royals returned, many prefered that the country become a republic, which ended up happening in 1910. That meant that the royal palace was no longer royal, so the neoclassical building was turned into a museum. It also occasionally hosts official ceremonies, but is generally open to the public.

      It has quite a sumptuous interior, with an ostentatious décor in several magnificent rooms. The highlights are the Audience Room (decorated with pieces from the 15th to the early 20th centuries), the Throne Room (with a ceiling painted in 1825 representing a temple opening to Heaven), the Banquet Room (where official dinners are still often held), and the King João IV Room (completely covered with paintings added in 1823, including a ceiling by Domingos Sequeira, one of Portugal’s leading artists of that period).
      Read more

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Jardim Botânico d'Ajuda, Jardim Botanico d'Ajuda

    Join us:

    FindPenguins for iOSFindPenguins for Android