This baroque marvel stands as a reminder of regal excess.
It was built in 1717 when King João V had more money (from the gold discovered in Brazil which was still a Portuguese colony at the time) than he knew what to do with it.
The idea was to build in the outskirts of Lisbon a colossal palace with a convent to rival the Escorial outside Madrid.
After two decades and 45,000 workers, the building was complete, with 880 rooms and 300 monks' cells (the story of the monument's construction is the basis of the classic novel "Baltasar and Blimunda" by Nobel Prize author José Saramago).
The dome is one of the world's largest but it doesn't look it, dwarfed as it is by the rest of the building, while one of the belltowers has a carillon with 114 bells which is the world's largest assemblage.
Adjoining the palace are the royal hunting grounds (the Tapada de Mafra) where wild animals roam free, and the king's love for hunting can also be seen inside the building, in a room with upholstery of animal skin and chandeliers made out of antlers.
In a tour of the interior, visitors will also see the impressive rococo library housing nearly 40,000 leather-bound books, the royal apartments, and the marbled basilica with its set of organs that is unique in the world.
(Closed on Tuesdays)
Buses of the "Mafrense" company depart from the Campo Grande terminal by the Alvalade XXI stadium to Ericeira through Mafra, passing right by the palace. The stop is just a few feet from the monument (you may want to ask your driver to stop at the palace when you buy your ticket), while the stop for your return to Lisbon is across the street just a few feet ahead.
FREE ADMISSION WITH THE LISBOA CARD.
Acesse aqui !
Acesse aqui !