Mafra the place where was built the largest residence of the Portuguese monarchs. It located 30 km north of Lisbon. The central part of the building resembles a cathedral, but inside, it impresses with wealth and luxury.
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  1. #PT26
  2. Palácio Nacional de Mafra Terreiro D. João V 2640-492 Mafra, Portugal
  3. +351261817550
  6. Working hours*:
    Every day from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. Last entrance to the palace at 4:45 pm
  7. Prices*:
    Ticket: 6 €
  8. * - opening and closing times as well as entrance prices, are subject to alterations without notice. Visitors are advised to check before visiting.
  9. 38.9368520, -9.3258864 Copy to clipboard Copy

Historical reference
The beginning of the construction of the Mafra Palace timed to coincide with the birth of Prince Jose I, the heir to King João V. Work carried out from 1711 to 1730. The plans of the royal family were modest. They wanted to build a small monastery, but the financial situation strengthened, and the monarch decided to build a palace that, with its beauty and splendour, would outshine the royal residence of El Escorial, located near Madrid.
After the completion of construction work, the palace did not immediately become a royal residence; initially, royal family members used it to organize diplomatic receptions and hunting in local forests.
Interesting fact! At the beginning of the 20th century, when the power of the monarchs was overthrown, the palace complex was declared a museum.

A journey through the palace complex
Painting on the ceiling of the Open Hall in the palace Painting on the ceiling in one of the rooms
All buildings of the Mafra Palace occupy an area of ​​almost 4 hectares (37.790 sq. M.), Including 1200 rooms, more than 4700 doors and windows, 156 stairs and 29 courtyards. Impressive, isn't it? Such a magnificent building became possible thanks to the Brazilian gold, which poured into the country and allowed the king to carry out his ideas in art and strengthen the royal power.
For the royal monastery of Mafra, the king ordered sculptures and paintings from the best Italian and Portuguese masters, and all church clothing and religious gold were brought from Italy and France.
Interesting fact! Unfortunately, the splendour of the palace, which reigned during the reign of kings, is now impossible to see. Since the royal family members during the war with Napoleon left for Brazil, taking with them tapestries, furniture, paintings.

What are the parts of the palace?
At first, it was intended for 13 monks, but the project has undergone significant changes. As a result, the building equipped with everything necessary for 300 Franciscan monks.
The king personally provided support for the monastery, paying all expenses out of his pocket. Members of the religious community were given salaries twice a year and equipped with the necessary food - wine, olive oil, and cows throughout the year. In addition, the monastery had a garden and several water tanks.
It is the focal point of the main façade of the Mafra Palace in Portugal. Bell towers located on both sides. The basilica made in the Baroque style. Limestone from the Sintra region used for the construction. The floor and walls are in marble.
It is noteworthy that the dome with a height of 65 m and a diameter of 13 m was the first dome erected in Portugal. The main of the 11 chapels decorated with paintings of the Virgin Mary, Jesus and St. Anthony, to whom the church is dedicated.
Inside the temple, there are as many as six organs decorated with gilding. The six organs in the Basilica of the Mafra Palace are world-famous. It was not their number that made them famous, although the fact itself is remarkable. The peculiarity is that they built simultaneously and initially conceived for a joint game.
Bell towers
The Mafra Palace in Portugal has two bell towers - on the sides of the Basilica. The total number of bells here is 98. They say that it rings within a radius of 24 km!
The library occupies the largest and most prestigious room in the building. It is one of the essential Enlightenment libraries in Europe and has about 36 thousand volumes. The room has the shape of a cross, size 85 * 9.5 meters.
To visit the library, you need permission, which researchers, historians, and scholars obtain, whose subject explains the need for access to the collection. Tourists are not allowed to walk in the library so as not to disrupt the unique ecosystem.
Seriously ill patients treated here. Every day, a doctor and a priest came to the patient, and monks-nurses took care of the sick. Representatives of the nobility treated here, and they were allowed to attend church services.
In the building of the temple, the monks grow medicines made from herbs in their garden. Also, the composition of medicinal products included honey, melon, mint, wax, resin. Here are collected the tools that the monks used in the production of medicines.
Halls of the palace
Diana's Hall. And the Portuguese craftsman painted the ceiling of the room ousted the goddess of the hunt, Diana, along with nymphs and satyrs.
Throne. Royal audiences held here. Royal virtues depicted on the walls of the Hall.
Throne room
Discoveries. Here are the most significant findings made by the people of Portugal.
Hall of Fates. Here are all the monarchs who ruled the country before King João VI and depicted the Temple of Destinies.
Hunting. Many monarchs, this much time on the hunt is a royal hobby.
Hall of Don Pedro V. The room made in the style of romanticism. The Hall is also known as Red or Expectations. In this room, they visited when the royal family was waiting for them in the Hall.
Hall of Blessings. This the main room, located in a gallery between the two towers of Mafra's palace. The entire royal family gathered here for religious events. The Hall has a veranda that overlooks the palace square.
Hall of Music, Games and Leisure.

How to get there?
The distance from Lisbon to Mafra is 39 km, and the journey takes just under an hour. You can get there by bus that departs from Campo Grande station. The stop is called Mafra Convento. The ticket price is 6 euros, and you can buy the ticket from the driver.
The palace-monastery of Mafra (Portugal), perhaps, will not only surprise you with its labyrinth and intricacies of passages, staircases and corridors but also delight you from visiting it.

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