If you would visit Sintra in Portugal, you may come across the palace of Quinta da Regaleira. It consists of a palace, a chapel, and a luxurious park with lakes, grottoes, wells, benches, and fountains. But the most mysterious structure in the estate is a pair of wells, which spiral down deep within the earth like inverted towers.
Where are the inverted towers located?
These mysterious structures are located in Sintra, Portugal. It is a charming town and municipality in the Greater Lisbon region, on the tourist-popular Portuguese Riviera. The total population of this municipality is about 380,000 residents, with an area of 219.23 square kilometers (123.26 square miles).
Quinta da Regaleira, the estate where these underground buildings were constructed, is near the historic center of the town and is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When were the inverted towers constructed?
The palace complex was built between 1904 and 1910 by one of the wealthiest men in Portugal at the time, Carvalho Monteiro.
He was an eccentric collector and Freemason who purchased this piece of land from the Viscountess of Regaleira, a family of wealthy merchants, in 1892.
Wild park, tunnels, and famous towers
The palace itself contains five floors. Estate is surrounded by a dense park that was left nearly completely wild by the owner, because Carvalho Monteiro was fascinated by primitivism. The park is also decorated by a multitude of symbolic and intricate sculptures.
The park is also connected to a large and complex system of tunnels with multiple points of entry. Many segments of this tunnel were built manually by humans. But a lot of structures, such as grottoes and caves, were left as they appeared before humans came here.
There is a chapel in the estate that has one of the entries to the tunnels. A waterfall lake contains another entry. The underground network is also connected to the famous inverted towers.
What was the purpose of the ancient inverted towers?
Were the wells used to collect water? No, these weird wells never served as a water source. Instead, they were used for secret rituals, linked to Tarot mysticism. There are, however, other historic documents stating that the same place was used for rituals associated with Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, or Knights Templar.
Because of the rituals performed here, these structures are also called Initiation Wells.
The appearance of these wells resembles the walls of a tower as if it was built going down to earth instead facing the sky.
Their walls are lined with stairs so that people could descend right to the bottom. There are two towers – the larger one also contained a 27-meter-long spiral staircase. Both of them were connected to the network of underground tunnels.
Were towers connected to the order of Templars?
Because of his interests, the palace was decorated with symbols related to alchemy, Masonry, and the Knights Templar. While the order of Knights Templar, a Catholic military order, was disbanded the order in 1312, Freemasonry has incorporated its symbols and rituals.
Some references indicate that the candidates for the order of Templars had to enter one of the mysterious inverted towers, also known as Initiation Wells. Here, they descended nine flights of stairs and traversed a dark labyrinth.
This itinerary symbolically marked the way up toward the light. After reaching the sunlight, the candidate for the order walked across stones in the water to reach the underground chapel. Here, the rite of initiation has reached its culmination.
Inverted towers today
Nowadays, no secret rituals take place in the inverted towers. However, the palace of Quinta da Regaleira is open to tourists and can be visited by explorers interested in myths and history.