Quinta da Regaleira’s Initiation Well near Sinta, Portugal

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This 88-foot-deep well is located on the Quinta da Regaleira property near the Portuguese town of Sintra. The well was never used as a well and was never constructed with the intention of serving as a water resource at all. It was in fact constructed for covert ceremonial purposes.

“What is below corresponds to what is above, and what is above corresponds to what is below, in order to accomplish the One Thing’s miracles.” – Trismegistus Hermes

The palace, a
s seen from the bridge over the lower gate. Author: Lusitana – CC BY 2.5

The wealthy Portuguese businessman Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro, who owned Quinta da Regaleira, was a well-known Freemason. He designed and built the four-hectare property, which features enigmatic buildings, mysterious parks, and underground tunnels, with the assistance of Italian architect Luigi Manini.

Each structure in Quinta da Regaleira is adorned with numerous symbols associated with masonry, alchemy, the Rosicrucian and Hermetic traditions, the Knights Templar, and Tarot mysticism.

Looking down into the Initiation Well. Author: Stijndon – CC BY-SA 3.0

The Quinta da Regaleira estate is dubbed “Monteiro the Millionaire’s Palace.” The palace, built in 1904, is without a doubt the estate’s crown jewel. The five-story mansion features a Gothic facade adorned with carved and decorated gargoyles and other Gothic ornaments.

The estate’s construction took more than six years. Following Carvalho Monteiro’s death, the property was purchased by Waldemar d’Orey. It was owned by the family until 1987, when it was sold to a Japanese conglomerate. For ten years, they kept the estate closed to the public. The estate was purchased by the local authorities in 1997, and after restoration, it was opened to the public in 1998.

View upwards from the bottom of the Initiation Well. Author: Stijndon – CC BY-SA 3.0

Additionally, the estate’s park contains a large garden and an extensive and perplexing network of tunnels with numerous entrances constructed in a variety of styles. There are grottoes and a chapel on display, as well as the Waterfall Lake and Leda’s Cave, which is located beneath the Regaleira Tower.

Bottom of the Initiation well. Author: Stijndon – CC BY-SA 3.0

In some ways, the Initiation Well serves as an entrance to the underground labyrinth as well. A series of underground walkways connects it to the other entrances. The Initiation Well features an eye-catching spiral staircase supported by carved columns that descends nine landings to the bottom of the well.


The spacing of these landings, as well as the number of steps between them, are believed to be related to Tarot mysticism and Masonic principles. At the bottom of the Initiation Well is a compass atop a Knights Templar cross, which is said to have been Carvalho Monteiro’s coat of arms, indicating his Rosicrucian affiliation.

Initiation Well
Rain down the Initiation Well. Author: Stijndon – CC BY-SA 3.0

The nine small round landings separated by fifteen steps alludes to Dante’s Divine Comedy and may represent the ‘Nine Circles of Hell,’ the ‘Nine Sections of Purgatory,’ and the ‘Nine Skies of Paradise.

One of the entrances to the labyrinth. Author: Lusitana CC BY 2.5

For the Initiation There is a well that looks like a tower that is upside down, and depending on which way the adept walks, it can be a journey into the depths of Mother Earth or a rise up into light. The well is used as a symbol for the death/rebirth allegory, which is common in many mystical traditions. Through the well, you’re born again.

Tunnel starting from the Eastern Grotto. Author: Lusitana – CC BY 2.5

On the property, there’s also a smaller well. It has a straight staircase that connects several floors with ring-shaped floors to each other. An unfinished well is called that. Tunnels under the ground connect the two wells. There is a structure in Italy that looks a lot like these wells. There are also two man-made lakes and a lot of fountains on the land.

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The Waterfall Lake and its system of caves. Author: Husond – CC BY-SA 3.0

A lot of effort was put into building and planning the wells, even though there are no written records of how the wells were used or what happened there. The fact that we don’t know the answer lets us enjoy the mystery of these unique structures.

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