The Ajuda National Palace is a splendid neoclassical jewel of Lisbon, located in the Belem district, in the close vicinity of sights like the Jeronimos Monastery and the Belem Tower. The winding history of the construction works at this palace was determined by the political overturns, by the pecuniary difficulties and by the long period of time in which they were carried out. The contribution of sundry architects (Manuel Caetano de Sousa, Jose da Costa e Silva and Francisco Xavier Fabri) commissioned for this task left its print on the overall architectural merits of the building, pegged out by sundry influences (chiefly, Baroque and Rococo).

Thus, the present structure sits on the site where a previous wooden building used to be located, serving as a royal residence after the 1755 earthquake. The original architect, Manuel Caetano de Sousa, planned the building in a Baroque and Rococo style, but he did not manage to implement his design, due to political reasons (the Napoleonic invasion, which forced the royal family to run away to Brazil, in 1807). His plans were resumed, though substantially altered, by Jose da Costa e Silva and Francisco Xavier Fabri. Possidonio da Silva also contributed to the decorative and structural patrimony of the palace, but he did so only when the building eventually became a royal residence, as it was intended to, no sooner than the second half of the 19th century, under King Luis I.

There’s a lot to see inside the Ajuda National Palace. Applied and decorative arts aficionados will definitely delight in visiting this museum-like venue. Thus, they can admire the numerous rooms replete and tastefully arranged with furniture, statues, tapestries, porcelain and impressive chandeliers. Highlights refer to the Throne Room (which fills virtually the entire south wing of the edifice), to the Dining Room (which stands out by its wealth of crystal chandeliers, beautifully designed furniture and by the frescoed ceiling), to the Winter Garden (also valuable for its ceiling) and to the Ballroom. A wide collection of clocks is scattered throughout the edifice, but visitors should also take time to study the 23 allegorical statues placed in front of the main entrance.

Ajuda National Palace (Palacio Nacional da Ajuda)
Largo da Ajuda, Lisbon, Portugal
00351 213 637095
00351 213 620264
Opening hours:
daily (except Wednesdays): 10am to 5pm
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