Convento de Mafra - PHOTOGRAPHER COMMENT
Panorama of the Convent of Mafra, photographed in May 2010 in the Terreiro D. João V. It was of here that the last king of Portugal, D. Manuel II, depart for the exile, on October 5, 1910, after having proclaimed the Republic.
Convento de Mafra - FURTHER INFORMATION
Convento de Mafra - Mafra visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Convento de Mafra' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Distrito Lisboa.
The Palácio de Mafra (Mafra Palace), also known as the Convento de Mafra, dominates the small town of Mafra some 40km north of Lisbon. It is one of the most important Baroque buildings in Portugal and the top tourist attraction in the town.
Palácio de Mafra is an Italian baroque monastery built during the reign of King Dom João V in the eighteenth century. The complex was originally intended to house just 13 Franciscan friars as the result of a pledge by the king in 1711. However, the project grew and eventually some 50,000 peasants and soldiers were employed building the vast complex of royal apartments, banquet halls, chapels and monks cells. Radiating from a central basilica, the Palácio de Mafra even contains its own small hospital and pharmacy to care for wounded workers, of which 1383 died during construction.
Designed by John Frederick Ludovice, the resulting palace covers 37,790 m&2sup; within which are about 1,200 rooms, more than 4,700 doors and windows, and 156 stairways. The façade is about 220m long making it the largest Baroque construction in Europe at the time. The convent contained within housed 330 friars and attached to this was the Royal palace and a library of 40,000 books. The palace was embellished with fine Italian marble, exotic woods and countless pieces of art. It also contained six monumental pipe organs and the two carillons.
The basilica was inaugurated on the day of the King's 41st anniversary, October 22, 1730, accompanied by feasts lasting 8 days. Even then the basilica, dedicated to Our Lady and to St. Anthony, had not been finished. The lantern on the cupola was completed in 1735 and further work continued up to 1755 when the devastating Lisbon earthquake drew workers back to Lisbon.
Today, the Palácio de Mafra is a popular tourist attraction, with thousands coming to admire the massive façade, visit the basilica, royal apartments and library. Adjoining the palace is Tapada park, also open to the public and stocked with wild boar and other animals.
Terreiro de Dom João V
TRAVEL DIRECTIONS AND GETTING THERE
Flight: Lisbon International Airport (LIS).
Road: Mafra is about 35km from Lisbon Airport A8, N116.