Ajuda Palace: a trip to the world of King D. Luis I and D. Maria Pia!
A beautiful attraction and still little explored by tourists and residents of Lisbon is Ajuda Palace, located in the neighborhood of the same name and very close to the famous Jeronimos Monastery.
Also called the Royal Palace of Our Lady of Ajuda, the Palace is considered a National Monument and is gradually being completely refurbished. The idea is to restore, based on rigorous historical investigation, the decorations and environments of the time of D. Luís.
Besides serving as a stage for some official ceremonies of the Presidency of the Republic, Ajuda National Palace also houses the Ajuda Library, the Paintings Gallery of King D. Luis I and the Secretary of State for Culture.
Considered one of the most important decorative arts museums in Portugal, the Palace was opened for public visitation in 1968 and is one of the attractions of the city that has free entrance to on the first Sundays of the month. We’ve been there and recommend the visit!
The history of Ajuda Palace
The Royal Palace of Our Lady of Ajuda has a very interesting history. It was built to be the new house of the Royal Family after the earthquake that struck Lisbon in November of 1755.
After 250 years living in the sumptuous Ribeira Palace (now Comercio Square) that had been completely destroyed during the earthquake, the Royal Family needed to find a higher and safer place to live.
The new building, made of timber to better withstand earthquakes, became known as the Wooden Palace or the Royal Barrack [Real Barraca]. It was the Portuguese Court residence for about three decades (from 1761 to 1794).
In 1794, under queen Mary I (1734-1816), a new tragedy hit the royal dwelling. At that time a fire utterly destroyed this royal abode, as well as a large part of its valuable holdings. Two years later (1796) the construction of a new palace began. This time, it was made of stone and lime and in accordance with the Baroque trends, the architectural style of that time.
After five years, the construction was suspended. The idea was to adapt it to the new architectural current of the time, the neoclassical style. This task was never fully completed for many reasons, including the departure of the Court to Brazil in 1807.
According with the official website of Ajuda Palace, in 1821 when the Court returned from Brazil the building was still unfinished and it only hosted formal official ceremonies. Just in 1826, after the death of King John VI the Princess Regent D. Maria Isabel chose it as her residence.
In 1862, the year in which the king D. Luis I got married with Princess of Savoy D. Maria Pia, Ajuda Palace started being renovated and has returned to stand out, it became the stage of Council of State meetings, of big gala events – banquets and official receptions – and of daily family life.
At that time Prince Carlos and Prince Afonso were born After King Luís I’s death in 1889 the new Royal Court had divided into three Palaces: Ajuda, where Queen Maria Pia remained with Prince Afonso; Belém and Necessidades, alternative residences of King Carlos I and Queen Amélia.
In 1968, the building was open for the public. The Ajuda “noble” floor remained reserved for official ceremonies.
If you are one of those who likes history and want to know more details about this beautiful Palace, click here.
The visit to the Ajuda National Palace
We visited the Palace in August 2016. The tour begins with the ground floor where the personal rooms of the monarchs, the Music Room, a living room called the Blue Room, the dining room for the family’s daily meals and some areas that were used for family recreation, such as the Marble Room and the Billiards Room.
Upstairs, called the Noble Floor, you will visit the Room of the Diplomatic Corps, the Throne Room, the D. João VI Room (that was where the gala dances of the time were held), the Great Dinners Room ( Where the banquets were held), as well as the Painting Studio, the Library and King D. Luis’s bedroom in 1888.
I was delighted, in particular, with the rooms, the tapestries and also the ceilings of the building. Remember to pay attention to these details when you decide to visit the Palace. You will surely love it!
The King’s Bedroom
The Blue Room
The Marble Room
The Pink Room
The Green Room
The Queen’s Bedroom
Queen’s Portrait Room
The Ladies of The Diplomatic Corp Room
Diplomatic Corps Room
State Banquet Room
How to get to Ajuda Palace?
The Ajuda National Palace on the Largo da Ajuda Ajuda, Lisbon.
By car: a very simple way to get to the Palace is to follow 24 de Julho from Lisbon towards Belém. Then turn and go up the Calçada da Ajuda for approximately 1km. There is plenty of parking space nearby.
By public transport: By bus is also very easy. Some lines stop right in front of the main entrance of the Palace. The bus lines are at 18; 729; 732; 742; 60. For those who go by train, it’s best to get off at Belem Station.
Important Information about the visit to the Palace
- Ajuda Palace is among the monuments that offer free admission on the first Sunday of each month;
– Thursday to Tuesday, from 10am to 6pm. The last entry is at 5:30 p.m.;
– The Palace does not open on Wednesdays, January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st, July 13th and December 25th.
- Tickets: the ticket costs € 5 for the general public but there are discounts for families, seniors, teachers, journalists. More information can be obtained at this link.
- Children up to and including 14 years old are free of charge.
- Average length of visit: 1hr.45.
This information may change. Consult the official website of the Ajuda National Palace before heading to the venue.
Websites and Articles about Ajuda Palace on the Web