THE THRONE, PART I

The massive palace of the Dukes of Bragança, in Guimarães, is the original Medieval fantasy: the first duke came from Burgundy with plenty of inspiration and built himself a house of gigantic proportions. His descendants would meet different fates throughout History, with one duke beheaded for conspiracy and another enthroned later on. At one point the Braganças were the richest and most powerful family in Portugal after the King; today they are the pretenders to the “crown”, for whatever that counts in a Republic.

This is the first of a series of 3 posts on the ducal palace. Most of what can be seen in the photos is pure imagination from the Fascists, who restored what essentially was a pile of rubble in the early 20th c. But restore it they did, and it reflects their taste for austherity and frugality, as well as for clean-cut stone and sharp corners. That way, the monument stands as a rather strange concoction, with a scale that is awe-inspiring as few are in Portugal and merciless, minimalist detailing in traditional guise.

Paço dos Duques de Bragança, Guimarães

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