Mafra Travel GuideBrowse 2 travel reviews, 1 travel blogs and 48 travel photos from real travelers to Mafra.
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The small town of Mafra is completely overshadowed by its enormous royal palace and convent. It is a hugely impressive complex and well worth a visit, especially on a Sunday before noon, when admission is free. Originally the building was meant as a royal convent, it was an assignment from King João V (1689 - 1750). He had made a promise to God that if he would have an heir to the throne from his marriage to the Austrian Maria Ana, he would built a convent.
The construction started in 1717 and it was meant to become a modest housing for 13 Franciscan monks. However, not much longer after construction had started, the wealth from Brazil came pouring in, so the king and his architect made bigger plans.
Eventually, the sky was the limit: 52.000 builders were hired and after a few years the result was not just a convent that could house 330 monks, but also an extravagant royal palace and one of the most beautiful libraries in Europe. The complex is almost 38.000 square meters big, has 1200 rooms, over 4700 doors and windows, 156 stairs and 29 courtyards. The central part of the building is a large cathedral.
Tapada Nacional de Mafra, which is located a few kilometers from the palace, was the king’s hunting ground. It is still fenced off by its original wall, which has a length of around 21 kilometers. Today the park is a protected area with many wild deer, boar, foxes and badgers.
There are several longer and shorter hiking trails.