National Museum of Broughams
The National Museum of Broughams, in Lisbon, exhibits one of the most impressive world collections of carriages from the 16th through the 19th centuries.
The majesty of the National Museum of Broughams (Museu Nacional dos Coches) results not only from its impressive collection of historical carriages, one of the leading collections in the world, but also from the magnificent building that houses it. In fact, the old Horse Riding Arena that accommodates the Museum integrates the Belém Palace, a former Royal Palace in the parish of Belém – that offers some of the top 10 monuments in Lisbon-, which nowadays is the official residence of the Portuguese President.
The Horse Riding Arena was built by the end of the 18th century after a project of the architect Giacomo Azzolini, under the Neoclassic style and is magnificently decorated with paintings and title panels from several Portuguese artists that enhance the beauty of the carriages and coaches exhibited. The space was used for training the royal horses as well as for equestrian exhibitions and games, attended by the Royal family and the nobility.
By 1950 Queen Amélia, a patroness of the arts, ordered the creation of the museum to house a collection of royal and noble carriages along with its accessories built in different European countries such as Spain, Italy or France, that was scattered among different royal palaces. The collection depicts the development of the means of transport from the 16th through the 19th centuries up to the time of the automobile.
The richness of the collection of Coaches, Berlins, Carriages, Chaises, Cabriolets, Litters, Sedan Chairs and Children’s Carts impresses the visitors who while discovering the evolution of the design and the materials used in the construction of the carriages throughout the centuries, learn more about the evolution of art styles and historical moments. Such an example is the travelling coach used by King Philip II of Portugal on his voyage from Spain to receive the crown of Portugal. Another highlight of the Museum is the landau where King Charles I and his son and heir were murdered in 1908, in the attempt that originated the end of the Portuguese Monarchy. This carriage is particularly famed because the bullets holes are still visible.
As a curiosity let me tell you that the Crown Carriage was the last coach of the Museum used during the visit of the British Queen Elizabeth II in 1957.
The collection of carriages is completed by a group of Cavalry and Team Harnesses, Saddles, Dress Uniforms, Armament and Processional Accessories from the 18th century. Other highlights of the Museum are a group of trumpets from the Royal Band and the Portrait Gallery, exhibiting oil on canvas of the monarchs of the Bragança Dynasty.
Vila Viçosa Annex of National Museum of Broughams
The National Museum of Broughams has a section housed in Vila Viçosa, namely in the Duke’s Palace, which construction was ordered in 1501. The Palace was the main residence of the House of Bragança up to 1640, when it became a Royal Family country residence until the end of the Monarchy in 1910.
After an agreement with the House of Bragança Foundation, the Duke’s Palace houses a section of the National Museum of Broughams since 1984, where a collection of public vehicles coming from the Museum, the Duke’s Palace, the Ajuda National Palace, the Évora Museum, the Machado de Castro Museum and several private collections can be seen.
The collection exhibited in Vila Viçosa has 73 vehicles from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, including Carriages, Landaus, Calashes, Phaetons, Milords, Clarences, Broughams, Victorias, a Spider Phaeton and a Mail Coach. The group of hunting vehicles incorporating a Charabanc, Carts and a Country Cart, is one of the highlights of this exhibition, along with the amazing two Hi-Wheelers.
10.00 a.m – 6.00 p.m (Last entry: 5.30 p.m)
The Museum is closed on Mondays, January 1st, May 1st, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day
Seniors (over 65 years): 2.50€
Youth-Card holders: 2.00€