Museums and Art

Carriage Museum, Lisbon

Carriage Museum, Lisbon

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Having been in Lisbon, one cannot fail to visit the most popular museum of the capital of Portugal - National Carriage Museum. Prince Juan, later King Juan VI, began the construction of the Royal Riding Hall for training in horse riding. The building itself was designed by architect Giacomo Azolini in a neoclassical style, but the subsequent exterior and interior decoration continued for more than 40 years.

The Manege is a ceremonial hall with a width of 17 and a length of 50 m. In the upper part there are stands connected by narrow galleries, and at both ends of the building there are balconies for judges and the royal family, from where they watched the competitions. Magnificent paintings by Portuguese artists depicting allegorical scenes of all aspects of horsemanship adorn the upper part of the hall, but the most grandiose spectacle is the ceiling, covered with frescoes of the great Portuguese masters Joaquim José Lopez, Francisco de Setubal, Jose de Oliveira and Nicola Deleriva.

In 1905, the building was transformed into museum of carriages, and after the overthrow of the monarchy in 1910, the collection expanded so much due to the crews of the patriarchy and some noble families that the museum space had to be enlarged, which was done in 1944 by the architect Raul Lino. Now the collection of the museum in Lisbon is considered one of the best in the world. In addition to carriages, there are also convertibles, canopies, portholes, palanquins, hearse, chaise and children's carts in which ponies harnessed.

The oldest and most valuable exhibit of the collection is the coach of the King of Spain, Philip II, on which he came to Portugal in 1619. Next, the exposition unfolds in chronological retrospective. All carriages are distinguished by excellent finishes in the style of their eras. Closer to our time, the crews are becoming heavier and more refined, velvet, gilding and mahogany finishes appear, they are decorated with statues and candelabra. Such carriages were often accompanied by special lighting crews, where footmen kept lamps with burning olive oil. Such crews were called lampions.

The latest carriage samples weighed more than a ton. Three huge carriages made in Rome for the Portuguese ambassador to the Vatican, trimmed with gold and plush and decorated with statues in the height of a man. Such a crew weighs 5 tons, and the wealth of its sculptural compositions can be considered for quite some time.

In the upper part of the hall are presented carts for ponies, baby carriages and carts for dolls, as well as various intricate accessories for horse riding - spurs, saddles and harness uniforms. The walls of the halls are decorated with magnificent tapestries depicting members of the royal family.

Everyone remembers children's fairy tales, where princes and princesses ride carriages, and an excursion to the National Museum of carriages is a trip to a fairy tale where they appear in the real world, and it’s even a little pity that we will never see such beauty on the streets of our cities and never ride on such carriages.