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A History of French Architecture

  • 1 Queluz, National Palace of

       Considered Portugal's most beautiful former royal residence among a host of palaces, Queluz Palace was built in the 18th century. It is rightly regarded as the Portuguese mini-Versailles for several reasons. In some respects a miniature version of France's colossal palace and garden, Queluz, with its unusual gardens and park located west of Lisbon near Sin-tra, bears the touch of French architects and decorators, has French furniture and décor, and even boasts its own small Hall of Mirrors à la Versailles, the Throne Room. Queluz was a favorite dwelling place of King João VI and family, and symbolizes Portugal's efforts to be counted as worthy of the greatest European powers' tastes and standards of the day.
       Queluz's history began with a mid-17th century noble's country house, altered to accommodate the royal princes for a summer residence away from the noise and heat of Lisbon. Palace construction began in 1747 and lasted at least until 1786. Portuguese baroque and neoclassical styles dominate the charming palace's interior and exterior. The main architects were Portuguese and Italian, and also included the French decorator-artist Robillon. For materials, rare woods were imported from Brazil and marble from Italy. Especially striking in the garden-park, with its own small canal and walking bridges, are the azulejos or glazed tiles along the canal. In 1908, King Manuel II transferred ownership of Queluz to the state, and extensive restorations began in 1933.

    Historical dictionary of Portugal > Queluz, National Palace of

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