Sintra Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira, Portugal

Sintra Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira, Portugal ABANDONED SPACES
Discover the history and stunning photos of the Sintra Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira, Portugal. Sintra Initiation Wells were used for ceremonial purposes that included Tarot initiation rites. Sintra Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira is one of his most famous works of architect Luigi Manini.
Author: Mikko Muinonen CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Quinta da Regaleira is a quinta located near the historic centre of Sintra, Portugal. The Sintra Initiation Wells (also called initiatic wells or inverted towers) are two wells on the property that better resemble underground towers lined with stairs. Travelers can see the depth of the tower in the photograph and it actually measures approximately 27 meters. This site was never planned to be utilised as water storage. Sintra Initiation Wells were used for ceremonial purposes that included Tarot initiation rites. The tunnels connect these wells to one another, in addition to various caves and other monuments located around the park.

The history of the Sintra Initiation Well

Sintra Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira; Author: Shadowgate from Novara, ITALY — CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The land that is now Quinta da Regaleira had many owners over the years. It is known that, in 1697, José Leite was the owner of a vast property on the outskirts of the town of Sintra, which today is part of the Quinta. Francisco Albertino Guimarães de Castro bought the property (known as Quinta da Torre or do Castro in 1715), at public auction, and channeled the water from the mountains to supply an existing source.

In 1830, in the possession of Manuel Bernardo, Quinta took its current name. In 1840, Quinta da Regaleira was acquired by the daughter of a trader in Porto, nicknamed Allen, who was later awarded the title of 1st Baroness of Regaleira or the best known Baroness of Almeida. The construction of a country house dates from this period and is visible in some iconographic representations of the late 19th century.

Author: Thomas Claveirole CC BY-SA 2.0

It belonged to the Viscountess of Regaleira, a family of wealthy merchants from Porto, when it was sold in 1892 to Carvalho Monteiro. He made the estate what it is today. Carvalho Monteiro, a notable Free Mason, had built it for spiritual reasons. This well, it is said, was designed to represent the nine circles of Dante’s Inferno. Although it is only six stories deep, the experience of walking down the well makes it feel like it extends further. 

The architect Henri Lusseau drew the first plans between 1895 and 1896, but the inability to reinterpret the Manueline style intended by the owner led to the search for another interpreter. Carvalho Monteiro would find in Luigi Manini, who had made a career as a set designer at Teatro La Scalla and later at São Carlos and in the main Portuguese theaters, his right arm. Between 1898 and 1911, he exposed his mysterious iconological program and Manini designed, commissioned and supervised works.

Author: Weekend Wayfarers CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

What did Carvalho Monteiro want at Quinta da Regaleira? This question has already been answered several times with the suggestion of Carvalho Monteiro’s affiliation with initiatic societies. No known document supports this thesis, but it has infiltrated popular discourse

Most of the current construction of the Quinta began in 1904 and was completed in 1910. . After the death of Carvalho Monteiro, the property was bought by a Waldemar d’Orey. The family owned it until 1987 when it was sold to a Japanese corporation. They kept the estate closed from the public for 10 years. In 1997, the local authorities purchased the estate, and after restoration, in 1998, it was opened for public visits.

Underground Labyrinth near Sintra Initiation Well

Author: Susanne Nilsson CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The Initiation Well, in some way, is an entrance to the underground labyrinth too. It is connected to other entrances via a series of underground walkways. The Initiation Well has a striking spiral staircase supported by carved columns, that lead down to the bottom of the well through its nine landings. It is believed that the spacing of these landings, as well as the number of steps in between, are linked to Tarot mysticism and Masonic principles.

There is also a smaller well on the property which has a straight staircase that connects a series of ring-shaped floors to one another. This well is called the Unfinished Well. The two wells are connected via the underground system of tunnels. A structure similar to these wells can be found in the Pozzo di S. Patrizio in Italy. On the property are also two artificial lakes and several fountains.

How the Sintra Initiation Well was used?

Author: Mikko Muinonen CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

It is believed that Templar initiations at Quinta da Regaleira began with applicants entering one of the Initiation Wells with a piece of cloth around the head so as to cover the eyes. Once getting to the bottom of the well, the candidate would walk into a crepuscular labyrinth where guardians would find their way up towards the light. If they were able to make it back through the well tower and into the daylight, initiates would walk across rocks in the water to get to the chapel, where they would then be welcomed into the union.

Who Built the Sintra Initiation Well?

The Italian architect and designer Luigi Manini was responsible for some of the most striking architectural designs in Portugal. Sintra Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira is one of his most famous works. Luigi Manini was well known for his Neo-Manueline style.

Stunning Photos of Sintra Initiation Well

Regaleira Initiation Well; Author: Husond CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.
Author: Sönke Biehl CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.
Author: Shehani CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.
Bottom of the Initiation well. Author: Stijndon – CC BY-SA 3.0

We prepared stunning photos of Sintra Initiation Well. These amazing photos of Sintra Initiation Well will inspire you to discover Quinta da Regaleira in Portugal. Get to know Sintra Initiation Wells in Photos. Here we will be showing pictures of the place you will be seeing when walking down the stairs.

What is the current status of the
Sintra Initiation Well?

Author: Grant Matthews CC BY-SA 3.0

Today, the Sintra Initiation Wells at Quinta da Regaleira belongs to the Municipality of Sintra and is open to the public. The pair of wells, known as the ‘Initiation Wells’ or ‘Inverted Towers’, consist of ‘winding stair’ architecture, which carries symbolic meaning including the death/rebirth allegory common to many hermetic traditions.

How To Reach Sintra Initiation Well
With Public Transportation?

Sintra Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira, Portugal
Author: Nik Gaffney CC BY-SA 3.0

The Sintra Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira is just to the west of the historic center of Sintra and is a 5-minute walk from the tourist office. Most tourists take the train to Sintra, but the train station is 1km to the east of the historic center and a 20-minute walk to the Quinta da Regaleira.

When is the best time to visit Sintra Initiation Well?

You might spend only one day in Sintra, but I think it’s good to choose the time when it’s warm enough to do a long walk and when the risk of rainfall is slightly lower, and at the same time there are not that many people around. We strongly advise visiting as early as possible, when the site is its quietest. The peak hours are 11 AM to 15 PM.

Sintra Initiation Well on Google Maps

You can explore Sintra Initiation Well with Google Maps.
Sintra Initiation Well Coordinates: 38.795714275074246, -9.396678831954961

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