The Underground Tower in Sintra. Portugal. Description, Photos, Coordinates

The Well of Consecration, or Where the Inverted Tower of the Freemasons Leads

Receive one most read article in your inbox once a day. Join us on Facebook and VKontakte.

The Portuguese municipality of Sintra is home to the mysterious palace and park complex Quinta da Regaleira, which has become famous for having a strange tower that goes deep into the earth. This mystical system of underground tunnels, galleries, and wells is associated with the most mysterious society of all time – the Freemasons. It was there that the portals to the ‘center’ of the universe were created. The main riddle of the palace, an upturned tower 27 m deep called the Well of Dedication, led to it. According to legend, initiation ceremonies were held there.

The Well of the Dedication is located in the palace and park complex Quinta da Regaleira (Sintra, Portugal).

The Well of the Dedication is located in the palace and park complex Quinta da Regaleira (Sintra, Portugal).

The small Portuguese town of Sintra has long been a favorite resting place of kings and a secret hideout for Freemasons. If with the first it is more or less clear, with the advent of the Freemasons, this town became mega popular. A new milestone in the history of one of the most fertile places in Portugal began in 1892, when Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro, an entrepreneur, millionaire, philanthropist and Freemason, had the idea to turn the newly acquired farm Quinta da Regaleira into a palace and park complex.

The palace is surrounded by a picturesque park with mystical overtones (Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra).

Very quickly, a beautiful castle was built on this land, which has the appearance of different styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Manueline. On 4 hectares of land is laid out no less magnificent “Garden of Eden”, with fantastic nature, alleys, artificial lakes, waterfalls, canals and bridges, thrown over them. It is also full of extraordinary architectural objects and ornate sculptures.

Underground grottoes, labyrinths and towers attract with their mystery and special meaning (Quinta da Regaleira, Portugal).

The underground grottoes, labyrinths and towers attract with their mystery and special meaning (Quinta da Regaleira, Portugal).

Although you can go to the underground, which will delight thrill-seekers in grottos, secret passages, mazes, where you will be lucky enough to see the mysterious symbols relating to the canons of world religions, myths, alchemy, Kabbalah and of course, Freemasonry. Though the park and the castle itself are imbued with the ideas of Freemasonry, the main attraction is the Well of Dedication – an inverted tower reaching 27 meters under the surface.

The descent downwards is the path to self-discovery and rebirth (Quinta da Regaleira, The Well of Consecration). | Photo:

The descent is the path to self-discovery and rebirth (Quinta da Regaleira, the Well of Dedication). | Photo:

There is a legend that the rite of initiation into the Freemasons was carried out in this tower. This idea is suggested not only by the name and shape of the object itself, but also by the tests that each person walking in the spiral gallery, decorated with numerous arched openings, invariably passes. As it turns out, there are two ways into the well, one through a door disguised as a rock, and the other through a system of tunnels and grottos in which you must intuitively find the right direction.

Alicante in Spain. The main sights of the city.

The Divine Terrace, guarded by tritons (Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra) is a portal to a mysterious world.

The Divine Terrace, guarded by tritons (Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra) was a portal into a mysterious world.

The spiral staircase, with moss-covered columns and arches, symbolizes the nine circles of hell, purgatory and hell (Quinta da Regaleira, the Well of Consecration).

The spiral staircase, with moss-covered columns and arches, symbolizes the nine circles of hell, purgatory and hell (Quinta da Regaleira, the Well of Consecration).

If the initiate decides to go down from light to darkness, the point of entry to the inverted tower is the “Divine Terrace”, “protected” by the two ziggurat towers, on the upper tier of which is the sanctuary. Opposite, in the rock and there is a door leading to the upper gallery. From there, the aspirant would begin to move to the bottom of the well, which consisted of nine flights of stairs with 15 steps in each, symbolizing the circles of hell, purgatory and paradise (recall Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy).

The lower one descends, the more gloom envelops him (Quinta da Regaleira, the Well of Consecration).

The lower one descends, the more dusk envelops him (Quinta da Regaleira, the Well of Consecration).

The lower one went, the narrower the span became, and the inverted tower became more and more immersed in gloom. It is now, for tourists have all the conditions for a comfortable descent, which is illuminated in the most mysterious places. And if one imagines that it was done alone, the spectacular descent could really be the perfect way to encourage one to turn to self-discovery, to the darkest corners of one’s soul, and to overcome one’s fears.

The bottom of the Well of Dedication, according to legend, is the “center” of the universe (Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra).| Photo:

When he reached the bottom of the Well of Dedication there were special symbols – an eight-pointed star, a cross of the Knights Templar (which was also the coat of arms of the Monteiro family), over which there is a compass that always points to the east. And on the wall you can see a shining triangle, one of the symbols of Freemasonry. Given the complexity of the ritual of descent, it is not surprising that it was considered a way of rebirth and initiation. Although philosophically, this path still has a special symbolism, showing that one comes from the darkness and returns there as well.

Another way to the “center” of the universe is through underground tunnels and a lake (Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra).

For the more desperate looking for light at the end of the tunnel, there is a more sophisticated route. It leads through a system of grottoes and underground caves and to get to the bottom of the well in one of the poorly lit galleries, you must intuitively choose the right direction among several ramifications. And if the examinee succeeds in choosing the “path of truth,” he is sure to reach the light – the source of life. But in order to do so, one must go through the last stage of initiation – to cross the lake.

What to see in Venice - Top 25 Sights

Sometimes the stones show above the water, and then you can safely start stepping only with your left foot (Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra).

Sometimes the stones are shown over water, and then you can safely start walking only with the left foot (Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra).

According to the authors of, you can walk through the water, almost without getting your feet wet, without any problems, if you know a very important secret. It turns out that at the bottom of a deep lake are high stones, creating a path, but to get to them after dark, you need to start only with the left foot. Experienced tourists say that to guess their location under water is very difficult and not everyone manages to cope with this task. It is quite possible that in this way the members of the fraternity encouraged the recruit to believe in the right path.

This exit from the bottom of the well can also serve as an entrance to the sanctuary if you choose the second path of travel (Quinta da Regaleira, Well of Consecration). | Photo:

This exit from the bottom of the well may also serve as an entrance to the sanctuary if one chooses the second path of travel (Quinta da Regaleira, the Well of Consecration). | Photo:

Now the wrong tunnels, which, incidentally, are also exits from the bottom of the Well of Consecration, are illuminated and, for a more impressive effect, end in beautiful ponds with bridges and gazebos where you can take a break and take a photo. Some winding tunnels even lead to a chapel or impressive symbols. After wandering through the underground labyrinths you can also get into the park, where the forest seems quite abandoned and creepy, or to the palace. It is noteworthy, but since the creation of mystical underground labyrinths, each exit from the “wrong” direction has its own logic, symbolism and consistency, clearly emphasizing the principles of being.

From the “wrong” exits one can get either to lakes or to spectacular bridges (Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra).

Another well (Quinta da Regaleira, Portugal)| Photo:

Another well (Quinta da Regaleira, Portugal) was discovered on the territory of the palace and park complex. | Photo:

Interesting fact: Mystical underground objects with eerie system of secret passages, grottos and dungeons on this site were the abode of ancient cults. Antonio Monteiro and the architect Luigi Manini, who fully shared the philosophical and aesthetic tastes of the manor’s owner, had only to refine what had been done by the ancestors. Even the Well of Consecration was created in an ancient inverted tower (its purpose is still unknown). And there are two such towers found on the territory of the tiered park. The second is the “Unfinished Well”, consisting of straight staircases that connect the levels.

Fantastic underground objects can boast not only Quinta da Regaleira. There are many unique structures in the bowels of the earth, from salt mines turned into castles never seen before, to majestic temples or entire cities.

Rocheminier - A Troglodyte village in the Loire Valley. France

Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra, the well of initiation and the palace.

Among all the attractions of Sintra in Portugal, the Quinta da Regaleira estate has a role of its own. The palace and park group is imbued with the spirit of mystery, mysticism. This is a real fairy tale palace, a walk through the territory of which takes away from reality.

quinta da regaleira

The well of initiation at Quinta da Regaleira

How to get to Quinta da Regaleira

The electric train from Lisbon to Sintra is very convenient. The train leaves from Rocío station at 10 minute intervals and travels in 45 minutes. Tickets cost 2.20 -2.90 euros.

You can get to Quinta da Regaleira from Sintra either by tuk-tuk or by bus #435 (there ticket costs 1 euro, return – 2.5 euro). Or you can walk to the manor only 2 km from the city center. The way is pleasant, on scenic hills, to climb uphill as to other castles, for example, the castle of the Moors, not necessary.

How to get to quinta da regaleira

The route on foot will take about 30-40 minutes along a picturesque road.

History of the foundation of the estate

The succession of owners

To narrate the creation of Quinta da Regaleira, erected on the outskirts of Sintra, one would have to go back to 1697. At that time the Portuguese José Leito became the owner of a large plot of land where he set out to build a farm. In Russian, “quinta” means “farm”.

Eighteen years later, Francisco Alberto de Castro bought the plot. He planned to build a water pipeline that would carry water from the hillside to the city’s fountains. However, this plan was not fated to materialize. It is thought that it was at this time that underground tunnels were built and the famous Well of the Dedication came into being. Quinta da Torre (“torre” means “tower”) was the name of the de Castres farmhouse.

The farmstead changed hands three times before Baroness Alain Regaleira bought the land in 1840, giving her name to the farm. This was presumably the time when the construction of the farmstead began.

The peak of the estate’s development

In 1892, the estate was purchased by Carvalho Monteira, a famous Portuguese patron of the arts. It was on his initiative that a large part of the buildings grew here with the active assistance of the Italian architect Luigi Manini. Since then, the farmstead is often referred to as Monteiro Castle. No one would dare to call the majestic building a farmhouse anymore.

In the XX century, the estate again changed several owners, who invariably tried to remodel the manor, to complete it. Only in 1997 the architectural complex was purchased by the City Council, became a property of UNESCO and a major tourist attraction.

Historical information

quinta da regaleira

  • 1697 – first mention of the site – purchase of a plot by José Leyte.
  • 1715 г. – 1715: The new owner, Francisco Alberto de Castro, wants to dig a water pipeline down the slope.
  • 1840 – purchase of the farm by Baroness Alain Regaleira.
  • 1892 – Carvalho Monteira, a millionaire and well-known entrepreneur of the time, becomes the owner.
  • 1904 – 1910. – Construction of most of the buildings and facilities.
  • 1967 – The estate becomes the property of a Japanese corporation.
  • 1997 – The complex is acquired by the municipality.
  • 1998 – the site is added to the UNESCO list.
Lisbon and its attractions. Portugal.

Regaleira Palace

Magical blend of styles

The Château de Monteiro stands majestically in front of the surrounding landscape. Erected of white stone, slightly darkened over the centuries, Quinta da Regaleira is one of the most outstanding sights in Portugal.

Like the Monserrat Palace, for example, also on the outskirts of Sintra, it is characterized by a mix of architectural styles. Gothic, Romanesque and Renaissance elements are clearly visible. Particular attention is attracted by the numerous figures of fantastic creatures – Portuguese Renaissance (Manuelino), decorative decoration and octagonal tower. The author of this beauty was Jose de Fonseca, a Portuguese sculptor.

quinta regaleira

Magnificent interiors

By the present time, almost all the original decoration on the walls has been preserved. On the first floor you can see the living room, bedroom, checkroom, hunting room (dining room) with a huge fireplace, moldings on the walls and ceiling, hall of kings with a throne and billiards. The second floor contained the housekeeper’s room and the master’s study. The third floor was a small household room and a room with a terrace and sculptures of mythical creatures. The basement contains rooms for servants, storerooms, and a kitchen, from which an elevator for lifting dishes led to the dining room.

regaleira palace

Quinta da Regaleira Park

An intricate web of paths leads with every step into the mysterious depths of the woods. The park and palace complex is made up of several tiers. The lower sections are landscaped by man, while the upper ones are fully in the power of nature.

A huge palace-park territory with lakes, a rich underground world – tunnels and caves. In the well-kept part of the park are made paths with benches for recreation, the alley of the gods with sculptures of Dionysus, Vulcan, Hermes, etc. Here you can find a large number of religious symbols relating to Freemasonry and alchemy.

Quinta da Regaleira Manor Park

In the well-kept part of the park were made paths with benches to rest


Near the palace stands a charming chapel in neo-Gothic style. No visitor to the complex can pass by without being photographed against the background of the structure. The decorative decoration is striking in its luxurious details. There is a high relief “Annunciation” above the entrance.

Inside, the chapel is distinguished by its original decoration and preserved colorful mosaics. There is also one of the Templar crosses, of which there are many on the estate. On the back wall is a majestic symbol of the unity of the worlds: the higher, the spiritual and the lower – a relief image of a palace rising above the flames of hell.

The Øresund Tunnel Bridge between Sweden and Denmark

Quinta Chapel

The Well of Dedication

The Upturned Tower, or Well of Dedication, is Sintra’s most famous and mysterious well. Who built it remains a mystery to this day. Some reports suggest that the underground tower appeared here long before Carvalho Monteiro.

According to the architect’s plan, the Well of Dedication in Sintra represents the nine circles of hell of Dante’s famous work. Inside, everything is detailed, with each object necessarily symbolizing something. The number of steps between the floors, the number of platforms, and the numerous columns are significant. At the bottom of the 27-meter well, another Templar cross is inscribed in the Monteiro coat of arms on the marble floor.

well of Sintra dedication

Finding the way out of the well is not easy. The lower tier diverges underground in several passages. Some lead to the surface, while others abruptly cut off halfway to the sunlight that is already visible ahead. The passages inside the mountain lead to different levels of the tower.

Tunnels, Wells and Grottoes

The grottos and caves around the Well of Dedication are not the only ones. The entire area beneath Regaleira in Sintra is literally riddled with passages and labyrinths. The tunnels open for viewing have been artificially lit. But it adds to the mystery of the place.

In addition to the Inverted Tower, there is also the Imperfect Well. When you look at it, it looks like just a pile of stones. Fuzzy, jagged window openings conceal a spiral ramp leading upward toward the light.

Quinta da Regaleira

One of the tunnels ends in the East Grotto, sunny and richly vegetated. Nearby is the Aquarium grotto with interesting sculptural compositions. Under the Regaleira Tower is the grotto of Leda with a marvelous statue of the mythological beauty. Another cave – the grotto of the Virgin – is located at the far wall of the castle.

All the tunnels, wells, grottoes in Quinta Regaleira are man-made. Even the lakes here are not natural, but artificial, implementing the same mysterious plan. The lake with a waterfall and the grotto of the Labyrinth are considered “eyes of the Earth”. Legend has it that the underground inhabitants were able to watch what was happening on the surface.

Opening hours and prices

The palace and park are open all year round. From April to early October – from 9:30 to 20:00. From October to early April – from 9:30 to 19:00. Tickets cost only 6 euros, for children from 6 to 17 years and seniors 4 euros, for children under 5 years, as at other sites, admission is free.

( No ratings yet )
Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Free Travels And Tours
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: