Queluz National Palace (Palácio Nacional de Queluz)

Queluz National Palace


Location: Largo do Palacio, Queluz      Map

Constructed: 18th century

Tel. 214 343 860

Open: 9:30am- 5pm Wed- Mon

Closed: 1 Jan, Easter, 1 May, 29 Jun, 25 Dec


Description of Queluz National Palace


Queluz National Palace is a magnificent 18th century Portuguese estate in Queluz, Lisbon District. Queluz National Palace was constructed under supervision of an architect Mateus Vicente de Oliveira. The first owner of the residence was Dom Pedro of Braganza (1717 – 1786) who married his own niece and became king consort of Queen Maria I. After his death, his wife was quietly incarcerated here. Her mental state deteriorated and sudden attacks of delirium became common. Her screams echoed through the empty corridors and rear palace festivities reminded more of the religious service rather than a party. Eventually she was forced to leave Queluz Palace for Brazil. Napoleon Bonaparte's French army forced stormed into Iberian peninsula. This Rococo residence became a property of the state in 1908 and serves as a museum of history.


At the beginning of the XVII century, a country estate near Lisbon belonged to Cristovan de Moura, Marquis de Castelo Rodrigue (1538-1613), who repeatedly served Spain as Viceroy of Portugal. His son, Manuel de Moura, 2nd Marquis de Castelo Rodrigue (1590-1651) was also distinguished by his pro-Hispanic views. After the Bragan dynasty came to power and the country gained independence in 1640, this estate was confiscated along with many others, after which it passed to the second son of King Juan IV. The next owner was the second son of King João V (grandson of João IV), the infante Don Pedro (1717–1786), and subsequently, after the death of his older brother Jose I (1714–1777), who became king of Portugal. With him, the country house began to be rebuilt into a real palace. Construction began in 1747 and lasted almost half a century, ending in the 1790s, after the death of the king.

In the beginning, the construction was led by Portuguese architect Mateus Vicente di Oliveira. In 1755, due to a terrible earthquake in the capital, all work in Kelush was interrupted. With the resumption of construction in 1758, the Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Robillon, who worked in Portugal since 1749, was involved in project management. The Lion Staircase, a wonderful example of style, was completed by him in 1779. The “artist of the king” Jean-Baptiste Pilman, who lived in Portugal in 1750-1754 and 1780-1789, participated in the work on the decoration of the Throne Hall, the Music Salon and the Salon of Ambassadors.

In 1794, after a fire in the palace of Ajud, Kelush was forced to become the permanent residence of Mary I (1734-1816), the daughter of Jose I and the widow of Pedro III. Moreover, the Queen of Time, the Queen, who suffered from mental illness, was already recognized as insane. For days on end she lay in her apartment, frightening the courtiers with terrible screams that echoed throughout the palace.

After the assassination of King Carlos I in 1908, the palace became the property of the state. In 1940, a museum was opened here. However, ceremonial halls are occasionally used for receptions at the highest level. Since 1957, the doña Maria Pavilion in the east wing serves to house the heads of foreign governments who are visiting Portugal on a state visit.

Being one of the last in time to create large examples of the Rococo style in Europe, the Kelush Palace belongs to the best examples of European architecture of the XVIII century. In the architectural appearance of the palace, French classicism prevailed over Spanish Baroque; however, in individual details, and in the overall structure, the national identity of the building is visible. Local artistic tastes and craft skills are organically woven into the international style of European Rococo.

The Royal Palace of Kelush is often called the Portuguese Versailles - however, it is much more chamber and elegant. The palace was built as a summer suburban, village estate, where the royal family, not burdened with the strict etiquette of the capital, could enjoy the clean air and nature. The weakening of court norms of behavior here is evidenced by the layout itself, in which the private chambers of the monarchs and halls intended for the assembly of the audience alternate at ease.

In accordance with the rococo fashion, delicate, fawn tones predominate in the interiors and the color of the facade; Pale pink is combined with light green, echoes of the green of the garden. Because of its appearance, the writer Jose Saramago compared the palace with candied almonds.