Palace of Dukes of Braganza, Guimaraes, Portugal
After touring Castle of Guimaraes we moved on to Palace of Dukes of Braganza. Touring Castle of Guimaraes took barely 30 minutes of our time. The Palace is adjacent to castle, within 5 minutes of walking distance. There was hardly any crowd when we reached the palace. No queues for tickets either. So there was nobody urging us to move forward, which we usually experience in crowded palaces.
The Palace of Dukes of Braganza belongs to medieval period. Everything about it was evidently old! The interiors therefore have a different charm. The displays are delicate and rare. Rooms after rooms, they are stuffed with tapestries, furniture, weapons, porcelain, crockery and curios. They sure have been maintained well for centuries.
Brief History of Palace of Dukes of Braganza
Palace of Dukes of Braganza was built between 1420 and 1422 by Afonso, Count of Barcelos, the illegitimate son of John I of Portugal (and future Duke of Braganca). His descendants occupied the palace until the Dukes of Braganza moved to Vila Viçosa, abandoning the palace. 16th Century marked the beginning of period of ruin, which was aggravated during the 19th century, when the local population used the palace as a personal quarry. The Palace was reused so a military barracks could be installed in its premises. The Ducal Palace of the Braganza was classified as a National Monument in 1910. Only after that the Palace reconstruction was taken up seriously. The location is beautiful; set amidst a little forest. Good thing that they have maintained the greenery all around till today.
For a more elaborate history, check wiki link.
The palace rooms have been built around a rectangular courtyard. The symmetric pattern in the facades made it look interesting and worth a few moments of photography. I liked the roof tiles and the chimneys standing tall over them. There are 16 of them. This style is typical architectural influence from northern Europe.
The austere interior spaces have wooden floors and ceilings. The walls are strong made of granite giving the structure a robust look. We crossed several rooms in both the floors.
The spaces are defined well as visitors’ reception area, storage, carpenters space, main hall and office of the director of the site. In the main wing there is an unique staircase of the palace. It consists of four flights in granite. The intermediary floor has the museum space which has several displays. Good thing they allow photography. The halls are impressive with rock fireplaces, including Banquet Hall and the Hall of Lost Steps, with roofs designed like the interior wooden keel of a boat.
The last floor was dedicated for the use of the President of the Republic. There are a series of bedrooms with private bathrooms. This floor is immediately accessible via the small elevator on the ground floor and staircase from the second floor cloister.
Chapel within the Palace
One part of the last floor of the posterior wing, the southwest wing has a succession of rooms and a chapel. The entrance is arched, small one but grand! The chapel has a single nave; windows have beautiful stained glass paintings. A beautiful small chapel within a palace, this one looked good and is worth visiting!
Cost of tickets to palace is 5euros (free admission on the 1st Sunday of every month and for children <12 years)
The palace is open every day from 10am to 6pm.
Parking is free in Campo de S. Mamede.