The Palace of Mafra
Isabel Yglesias de Oliveira
- Guide to the most important Baroque monument in Portugal
- The vast palace features 1,200 rooms, one of the most important libraries of Enlightenment Europe and a collection of sculptures and paintings by Italian and Portuguese masters
The Royal Convent and Palace of Mafra is the most important baroque monument in Portugal. It was built in the early eighteenth century following a vow made by King João V of Portugal that he would build a convent if his wife gave him an heir. This vast palace that was eventually constructed is made from local limestone and marble and has 1200 rooms, its splendour possible due to the Brazilian gold that had poured into the country. It features one of the most important libraries of Enlightenment Europe, while the convent includes sculptures and paintings by great Italian and Portuguese masters. Among the later additions under the reign of King João VI was an ensemble of six organs for the Basilica. This great example of European baroque is explored in a new guidebook through new photography and a highly informative account.