Mafra National Palace

In 1711, D. João V ordered to raise the Mafra National Palace, masterpiece of the Portuguese baroque. Of its 666 divisions, distinction for the Library, unique in the Country, for the Basilica and the famous Carillons.

The Mafra National Palace, one of most imponent monuments of Portugal, symbol of the reign absolutist of D. João V, will surprise the look of the visitor for the projection that reaches in the landscape.

The origin of its construction is on to the fulfilment of a King’s vote, being unaware if to get succession or if to cure a serious disease.
In 1711, D. João V decrees for fair reasons that shall be raise in the Village of Mafra a convent to Our Lady and Saint Anthony, to be delivered to the Order of the Arrábidos Monks. D. João V chooses the place (Alto da Vela), buys lands and initiates the workmanships. Since the launching of the first rock, in 1717, to the ceremony of Consecration of the Basilica, in 1730, project under the direction of architect João Frederico Ludovice, that would suffer innumerable alterations, of a convent for 13 monks, it would transfer into a Palace- Monastery for 300.
During the 13 years that had lasted the workmanships, workers, masters, doctors, monks, pharmacist and animals had come from all of the country, lodging in “Madeira Island”. In 1730, the Real Workmanship of Mafra employed so many people that in another place of the Kingdom was difficult to find a carpenter or a bucket of whitewash.

To the exception of the lias rock of Pero Pinheiro and Sintra, almost everything was imported. Italy, Brazil, Holland, France and Antwerp sent the orders of marbles, wood, sculptures, ornaments, sets of dishes, utensils of cult, bells and carillons, and all paid with gold of Brazil, quickly transformed into the rocks of Mafra.

The 22 of October of 1730, though the workmanships still were delayed, the King decided to celebrate the ceremony of Consecration of the Basilica, presided by the Cardinal Patriarch D. Tomás de Almeida, participating all the Real Family, Court and representatives of all the Orders. It is calculated that they have attended more than 20 thousand people, without counting on the forty and five thousand workers, in a party that lasted eight days and where it was heard for the first time the sound of the Carillons.

 

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