Um Jardim Cultural – Monte Palace Tropical Garden

Um Jardim Cultural – Monte Palace Tropical Garden

in Funchal’s amphitheatre and approximately 5 km
away from the city center, with an extension
of 70,000 m2, is one of the most beautiful
and complete gardens of Madeira island: the Monte Palace
Tropical Garden. Its history dates back to the XVIII
century with the “manor of pleasure” at the time owned by the
British Consul Charles Murray. In 1897, Mr. Alfredo Guilherme
Rodrigues bought it and, inspired by the palaces
that he had observed in Germany on the banks
of the Rhine river, built
a palatial house, later converted into a hotel
called “Monte Palace Hotel”. However,
with the death of the owner, the space would be abandoned
for about 40 years becoming the possession
of Caixa Económica do Funchal. In 1987, that institution sold it to businessman
José Manuel Rodrigues Berardo, who donated it the following year to the
private institution of social solidarity, which he had created,
the José Berardo Foundation. After some
major restorations, the building was open
to the public in 1991 with the name
“Monte Palace Tropical Garden”. One of the most interesting
curiosities of the Monte Palace Garden is the existence
of a large number of tile panels spread along
the garden footways. They are Hispano Moorish examples
of the XVth and XVIth centuries and
contemporary panels which in the past were used
as decorations for palaces, churches,
chapels and homes. Formerly, there was also
a collection of tiles that recounted the visit
of the Portuguese to Japan and their trade
and cultural relations, but unfortunately
these are not exposed to the public due to a landslide
caused by bad weather. “History of Portugal”
is another collection of tiles made of 40 pieces
in terracotta commissioned to the artist
Alberto Cedron. This allows the visitor to observe
the main events of history from D. Afonso Henriques,
past the 1st Republic to the Portuguese integration
in the European Union in 1986. This consists of two parts
decorated in oriental style where we can find several pagodas,
Buddhist sculptures, stone lanterns and plenty of water
in ponds and waterfalls. The Monte Palace
Tropical Garden houses a large collection of exotic
plants from all over the world, but we also find swans and ducks
that populate the central pond. Peacocks and chickens roam freely
in the corners of the garden and the famous Koi fish that live
in ponds scattered along the property. These docile fish vary in size and color
and may live to a hundred years, which earned them a special respect
among the oriental population. The Monte Palace Museum
is made of three galleries. Two of them are covered
with African sculptures and the third has a large
collection of minerals from various
corners of the world. “Secrets of Mother Nature” is the
name of the exhibition of minerals derived mostly from Brazil,
Portugal, Argentina and North America, which can be viewed in one
of the floors of the museum. There, we can observe around
700 organized samples of minerals, some suspended in the air
giving the feeling of planetary space and others in cavities to simulate the
environment where they were created. The exhibition named
“African Passion” presents a collection of contemporary
sculptures from Zimbabwe from between
1966 and 1969. This consists of almost 1,000 sculptures
exhibited in two floors of the museum and represent
the expression of several artists and the recreation of the environment
in which they were created. Because it is a great
tourist spot in Madeira, it has a great influence
in the economy and culture alike. The cable car is the type
of transport used by most people because it provides them
the opportunity to gaze at the sweeping views
over Funchal during the trip. The Monte Palace Garden is a
paradise in the Pearl of the Atlantic that is worth visiting for its great
variety of cultural elements, as well as its animal
and forest diversity providing a nice
and unforgettable day.

2 thoughts on “Um Jardim Cultural – Monte Palace Tropical Garden

  1. Gut gemacht und erweckt die Neugierde. Wäre ich nicht schon da gewesen, würde ich es als neues Reiseziel auswählen. Obrigado!

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