This was a favorite of mine on our trip to Sintra. I’d seen many photos and could hardly wait to take my own. While I would have like to spend an hour or two there, the people in the well with me were more than happy to speed through it, so I was caught up in traffic, so to speak. I did manage to snap a few photos that almost turned out. All in all however, I loved being in there. It is a truly fascinating place to visit.

The Initiation Well is a unique architectural feature located at the Quinta da Regaleira estate in Sintra, Portugal. The well is about 27 meters deep and is not actually a well but rather a spiral staircase that leads down to an underground chamber.

The Initiation Well was designed by Italian architect Luigi Manini and built between 1904 and 1910 for the Brazilian millionaire Carvalho Monteiro, who owned the Quinta da Regaleira estate. The well was designed to symbolize the concept of initiation, as it was believed that those who descended into the underground chamber and ascended back up the spiral staircase were undergoing a spiritual rebirth.

The spiral staircase is made up of nine levels, which represent the nine circles of Hell, the nine sections of Purgatory, and the nine levels of Heaven in Dante’s Divine Comedy. The well is also adorned with statues, including those of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, as well as mythological creatures such as Triton and Proteus.

The underground chamber at the bottom of the Initiation Well is also richly decorated with symbols and motifs that are believed to represent alchemy, Masonry, and the Knights Templar.

Overall, the Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira is a fascinating example of esoteric and mystical symbolism that continues to attract visitors from all over the world.


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