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Discover the objects on display in the National Palace of Sintra


Originally built in the reign of King Dinis and Isabel of Aragon (13th century), but altered and enlarged in the reign of King Afonso V (1432–1481), the Chapel was significantly remodelled in the 18th and 19th centuries, though the decoration on the walls was restored in the 20th century based on discovered fragments. The Mudéjar ceiling is one of the finest examples still existing in Portugal.


Discover the objects on display in this room.

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This ceiling, one of the oldest existing examples in Portugal, features what are called “tracery” motifs. It is characterised by complex radial and star-shaped geometric patterns. It shows the royal coat of arms overlapping the cross of Avis, most likely referring to King Afonso V (1432–1481).

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Ceramic Floor

Ceramic floor made using the alicatado technique, with geometric designs in various colours. This is one of the oldest existing examples in Portugal.


Until the end of the monarchy in 1910, religion was present in every aspect of Portuguese society. The relationship between Crown and Church was mutually beneficial, with the king frequently using religion to justify his actions.

Mass was given in the Chapel of the Palace of Sintra. There were other private oratories in the palace but the Chapel was attended by the king’s confessor, various clerics, dozens of chaplains, several distributers of alms and dozens of musicians and cantors. All of these people as a whole formed the Royal Chapel – an institution within the court.

The Chapel rendered service simultaneously to God and the king. In the 15th century, King Afonso V (1432–1481) strengthened the importance of the king’s attendance, establishing the rules for the liturgical service. During mass, the king hid behind a curtain beside the main chapel (the most important spot), which conferred an aura of holiness on the king and elevated him above everyone else present.