carvalho monteiro

Quinta da Regaleira - Portugal 

Quinta da Regaleira is a UNESCO world heritage listed estate near Sintra Portugal. The estate features a palace, a chapel, a lake, grottoes and fountains, and was once home to millionaire entomologist, Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro. 

There are two wells on the property, that have spiral staircases lining their walls. The wells were never used as an actual water source, instead they were used for ceremonial purposes, such as Tarot initiation rites. The design of the tunnels themselves connect to Tarot mysticism, with the number of stairs and landings all being symbolic to tarot. Tunnels connect the two wells, and also lead to various monuments and caves around the property. 


In 1892, eccentric millionaire António Carvalho Monteiro purchased ten acres of land in Sintra, Portugal. Monteiro was heavily invested in the secret society of the Rosicrucian Order, and he desired to construct a monument that would honor its beliefs about nature, the physical universe, and the spiritual realm. Monteiro commissioned Italian scenographer Luigi Manini, another Rosicrucian, to design the estate. In 1910, Quinta de Regaleira was completed.

Quinta de Regaleira includes a palace, a chapel, and a park connected by an elaborate network of tunnels and passageways. The buildings are beautifully complex, drawing inspiration from Roman, Gothic, and Portuguese architecture. Visitors come to Quinta de Regaleira to search for the mystical and alchemical symbols hidden throughout the grounds. It’s believed that these symbols reveal the society’s most profound and protected secrets. A sense of mystery envelops the estate, most palpable, perhaps, in the overgrown gardens, which Monteiro preferred to let to grow wild.


The Initiation Well in Sintra, Portugal 

Quinta da Regaleira, the estate where this well or “inverted tower” is 27 meters deep, and just like the rest of the estate it is packed with symbolic references to cosmology, alchemy, and mythology (mostly roman and greek), and perhaps even mentions to freemasonry. The gardens are huge and constantly well-kept, and are the best and biggest part of the 2-3 hour visit.

The owner of the estate as we now know it was 1800’s Carvalho Monteiro, who on the last floor of his palace actually had a secret door that led to his alchemy lab. He commissioned the Italian architect Luigi Manini to design pretty much all there is in his estate, and Manini did a splendid job, everything being thought out in an astonishingly detailed manner. There are waterfalls from which you can walk behind the falling water, lots of grottos and manmade tunnels to explore, majestic towers,and  beautiful fountains. 

One can reach the bottom of the Initiation Well after walking for a good 5-10 minutes below ground in near absolute darkness, although they recently installed some ambient lights down there. (Source)