The route of Dom Carlos, a King in Cascais

King Carlos Fernando Luís Maria Vítor Miguel Rafael Gabriel Gonzaga Xavier Francisco de Assis José Simão de Bragança Sabóia Bourbon e Saxe-Coburgo-Gotha, son of King Luís and Queen Maria Pia, was born in Palácio da Ajuda (Ajuda Palace) on the 28th of September 1863.
In Cascais, thanks to the special conditions of its bay, Dom Carlos found the ideal setting to explore his artistic interests, sports skills and an insatiable scientific curiosity, benefiting from the fact that, from 1870, the royal family settled in the Citadel in the period of the year dedicated to the practice of bathing.
King Luís knew how to transmit his fascination of the ocean to King Carlos, offering him, in 1878 on his 15th birthday, the schooner Nautilus, on the same day on which Cascais experienced the first experimentation of electric lighting in Portugal.
Let us now discover some of the places that were part of the story of a King who so loved Cascais!
1. Casa D. Maria Pia (Queen Maria Pia House)
Avenida Marginal, n.º 18 | Rua D. António Guedes de Herédia, n.º 3 B, Monte Estoril
Built in the last decade of the 19th century, with a dominant position over the cliff in Monte Estoril, this house, which is still a mark of Monte Estoril, was bought by Queen Maria Pia to be used during the period of the year dedicated to bathing, in 1893, four years after the death of King Luís at Cidadela de Cascais (Cascais Citadel) and the rise to the throne of King Carlos. However, given its privileged location, it would also be used for long periods during the winter, thereby taking on the name Paço do Estoril (Estoril Palace), which would be maintained until the implementation of the Republic in 1910.
2. Praia da Rainha (Rainha Beach)
The cliff which houses Praia da Rainha (Rainha Beach) was once known as "Boca do Asno" (Donkey's Mouth), probably due to its shape. Early on, this small sandy beach, protected from the wind and waves, would become Queen Maria Pia's favourite and she chose it for the bathing of the Princes Dom Carlos and Dom Afonso. It was also on this beach in 1900 that Queen Amélia, wife of King Carlos, would save a drowning fisherman …
3. Praia da Ribeira (Ribeira Beach)
The seasonal presence of the Royal Family in Cascais, from 1870, according to the fashion of bathing, turned the town into the Queen of Portuguese beaches, forcing fishermen to give bathers part of Praia da Ribeira (Ribeira Beach). It was given this name as Ribeira das Vinhas would flow into it.
It was from here, today known as Praia dos Pescadores (Pescadores Beach), that King Carlos boosted the activity of sailing, rowing and swimming, turning Cascais into the most prestigious regatta circuit in Portugal. For example, in 1893,  the first national Corinthian race took place, a regatta where the boats crewed only by amateurs compete or, in 1898, the first international regatta in our waters.
4. Avenida D. Carlos I
The stay of the Royal Family at Palácio da Cidadela (Citadel Palace) from 1870 increased the need for the construction of a new road which accessed Praia da Ribeira (Ribeira Beach). Avenida D. Carlos I inaugurated in 1899 in honour of the King who helped pay for it, became one of the fundamental axes of the town and in a showcase of summer architecture, then in vogue, of which Casa Silva Leitão (Silva Leitão House), designed in 1896 with its pitched roof, is a beautiful example.
5. Passeio Maria Pia (Maria Pia Walkway)
This walkway next to Cidadela de Cascais (Cascais Citadel) was a must for the elegant people of the town to go bathing. This is the reason it was baptised in 1890 as Passeio Maria Pia (Maria Pia Walkway), in honour of the Queen, mother of King Carlos.
It is on this walkway, symbolically placed by the sea, that the statue of King Carlos by Luís Valadares, can be found. Unveiled in 2008, at the time of evocation of the centenary of his death, it is a realistic representation of the Monarch, on board the yacht Amélia, holding binoculars in his hand, observing the bay of Cascais.
6. Marégrafo (Tide Gauge)
Passeio Maria Pia, Cascais
Marcação de visitas: 214 815 907/55 |
Having the function of measuring the average level of the sea, the Cascais Tide Gauge, which was connected to the oceanographic laboratory of King Carlos, was installed in 1882, and was moved 30 metres to its current location in 1900.
The measurement system consists of a float in a well, connected to a high-precision clock and a horizontal cylinder which allows the graphic recording of the oscillations of the float, and it still works and can be visited by making an appointment.
7. Palácio da Cidadela (Citadel Palace)
Avenida D. Carlos I, Cascais
Aberto de 4.ª a domingo, 02:00pm-08:00pm
The Cidadela (Citadel) is a composite fortification which is the result of more than five hundred years of continuous construction and adaptations. Built on Torre de Cascais (Cascais Tower), ordered in 1488 by King João II, in the last quarter of the 16th century, it integrated   the Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora da Luz (Fortress of Nossa Senhora da Luz) and, after 1640, in the fort that we know today.
The main gate was the only access to its interior, which led to a central courtyard around which it had four blocks: Santa Catarina, next to the former Casas do Governador (Governor's Houses), where, from 1870, King Luís and Queen Maria Pia installed the Royal Palace of Cascais, and also S. Pedro and Santo António, which were to be used by the garrison, and S. Luís, where the hospital was located. Under the courtyard a large cistern with a quadrangular plan was built, with a dome resting on nine columns. From this group, the Capela de Nossa Senhora da Vitória (Nossa Senhora da Vitória Chapel) stands out.
King Luís passed away at Paço de Cascais (Cascais Palace) in 1889, with King Carlos succeeding him. He promoted deep changes to the building where he installed the first Portuguese maritime biology laboratory in 1896, adding a third floor over the former Santa Catarina Pavilion for this purpose in 1902. After 1910, the Palace housed the Presidents of the Republic, and was even the official residence of Óscar Carmona, from 1928 to 1945.
After many years of not being used, already in an advanced state of disrepair, it was subjected to a deep intervention of renovation and restoration between 2007 and 2008. Today, it is used as the official residence of the President of the Republic, simultaneously ensuring access to its state rooms and areas full of history, through guided tours promoted by Museu da Presidência da República (Museum of the Presidency of the Republic).
8. Teatro Gil Vicente (Gil Vicente Theatre)
Largo Manuel Rodrigues Lima, n.ºs 7-13, Cascais
Marcação de visitas: 214 830 522
Inaugurated in 1869, with five hundred seats, on the initiative of Manuel Rodrigues Lima, this cultural space follows the classic lines of an Italian stage. The building has a rectangular shape with the main facade on the shorter side, marked by three doors framed by stonework, according to an 18th century model, which is overlapped by three "wicker" semi-circular windows. The fascia with balustrade also presents clay rosettes on the corners.
For decades, this show hall has played a key role in the daily lives of the elite installed in Cascais, by promoting concerts and plays with artists coming expressly from Lisbon and even the recitation of amateurs. It was therefore one of the conviviality stages of the "bathing" high society in Cascais, which often benefited from the presence of the Royal Family. 
9. Sporting Club de Cascais | Museu do Mar Rei D. Carlos (Museum of the Sea - King Carlos)
Rua Júlio Pereira de Mello, s/n.º, Cascais
It was at the Parade Grounds, former military training area of the troops stationed at Cidadela de Cascais (Cascais Citadel), where, in 1879, Sporting Club of Cascais, a sports and recreational society with restricted access, settled, where the most prestigious bathers gathered. In addition to the balls which it organised, the club, which soon turned into the centre of the town's social life, would also stand out for the introduction of several forms of sport in Portugal, such as tennis, in 1882 which King Carlos very much enjoyed, or football, in 1888.
Today, the Museu do Mar (Museum of the Sea) is located here, formally inaugurated in 1992 and re-named Museu do Mar – Rei D. Carlos (Museum of the Sea - King Carlos) in 1997, to honour the Monarch, founder of Portuguese oceanography. Among the various exhibition centres, we highlight those which are dedicated to underwater archaeology, to the memory of the local fishing community, to King Carlos and oceanographic science and to the biodiversity of the sea of Cascais.
10. Trap-shooting terrace
Santa Marta, Cascais
It was on this terrace, which no longer exists, in Santa Marta that high society would watch or take part in trap-shooting, as did King Carlos, and who today is still remembered for his extraordinary marksmanship. Shooting and hunting were two of his greatest passions. They would even steal hours of sleep so that he could practise…
11. Casa de S. Bernardo (S. Bernardo House)
Av. Rei Humberto II de Itália, s/n.º, Cascais
The House of Bernardo Pinheiro de Melo, secretary and friend of King Carlos, who would award him the title of 1st Count of Arnoso in 1895, was a popular meeting place for “Vencidos da Vida”  and which included many celebrities of Portuguese cultural life at the time, such as Eça de Queirós, Ramalho Ortigão and, in spite of being considered an alternate member, the King himself.
King Carlos, who studied design with Teodoro da Mota and painting with Tomás da Anunciação, Miguel Ângelo Lupi and Enrique Casanova was soon consecrated as one of the exponents of Portuguese naturalism. There are several exhibits representing Cascais which are signed by the Monarch, who would enjoy the serenity of the balcony of Casa de S. Bernardo (S. Bernardo House) to paint watercolours and draw other objects, such as dishes and lampshades, which he would then offer to the owner of the house.
12. Casa dos Condes de Olivais e Penha Longa (Counts of Olivais House)
Av. Rei Humberto II de Itália, n.º 7, Cascais
In 1886, King Carlos married Princess Amélia of Orleans, daughter of the Counts of Paris. From then on, when staying in Cascais, he took up residence in a house given by the Counts of Olivais and Penha Longa. Shortly after, a large walkway would be built giving access to the Citadel, so as to allow the two Royal houses to communicate.
This beautiful example of the so-called summer architecture was recently subjected to an important expansion, to welcome the Farol Design Hotel.


Search in agenda

Cascais Digital