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Discover the objects on display in the National Palace of Sintra


The monumental kitchen was built by King João I to serve the entire palace. Its size was justified on the grounds that the court comprised several hundred people. As Sintra was a place where royal hunts were held, this is where the game was prepared for the banquets.

The two iconic chimneys measuring 33 metres in height have become the symbol of Sintra.

The kitchen is divided by a large pointed arch. This and the thick walls support the chimneys. On one of these walls can be seen the coat of arms of Queen Maria Pia. Lined up against the wall at the back are the hearths and two ovens; at the entrance can be seen a metal warmer to keep the food hot.


Discover the objects on display in this room.

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Kitchenware (21 pieces)

  • Portugal, 19th century
  • Copper and iron

Pans, fish pans, pots, casseroles, frying pans and water jug.

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Coat of Arms of Queen Maria Pia

The coat of arms of the last queen to inhabit the Palace, Maria Pia (1847–1911), was placed here in 1895. It shows the royal arms of Portugal and Savoy. The white tiles on the wall also date from her reign.

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“Hot Plate”

  • Portugal, 18th century
  • Iron
  • Inv. No. PNS3509

An iron warmer that was used to keep food hot after preparation and before being served.


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Roasting spits

  • Portugal, 18th century
  • Iron
  • Inv. No. PNS3508
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  • India, Cochin, 16th-17th century
  • Exotic wood (angelim), iron and gilded metal
  • Inv. No. PNS2971
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Martaban Jar

  • China, Ming dynasty, 17th century
  • Sandstone
  • Inv. No. PNS31 and PNS32


Until the 15th century, sharing a meal with his vassals was one of the king’s primary functions, just like dispensing justice and providing protection. As one of the main acts of unity, banquets were therefore among the most important, albeit occasional, events held at court.

As one of the key areas of the workings of the court, the kitchen was a highly complex machine which had to be constantly supplied with water, firewood and food. This kitchen has had running water since at least the beginning of the 15th century.

The kitchen employed dozens of individuals with different responsibilities. In 1545, King João III (1502–1557) had 14 cooks, not to mention pastry chefs, bakers and cheesemakers. Queen Catarina of Austria (1507–1578) had a further 29 cooks, alongside all of the auxiliary staff. All of these people made the kitchen a place of great know-how where preparation techniques had to be mastered and knowledge gained on the human benefits of every kind of food.