The original plans drawn up by the German architect Ludwig were, in comparison, quite modest before the King decided to pull out all the stops and spare no expense. The Italian architect Frederico Ludovice was employed who added an Italian feel to the design. During the height of construction, there were over 15,000 masons, craftsmen, sculptors and the like working on the project. It's rumoured that a garrison of 6,000 troops was camped onsite to ensure law and order. Although the majority of construction was completed by 1730AD work would continue until 1755, five years after King D.João V death, when the devastation wreaked by the Great earthquake required as many workers as possible to rebuild Lisbon.
Although only designed as a summer residence, nothing less than 666 rooms would do for the comfort of royal living. As a pious couple, the King and Queen had separate quarters, in two large pavilions that occupy the front corners of the palace. The towers are set 220 metres apart, with a church in the centre. Joining corridors allowed the royal couple to observe church services without having to leave their royal chambers.
Great works of art decorated the royal residences featured many commissioned pieces of art by mainly Portuguese, Italian and French artists, including Cirilo Volkmar Machado and Domingos Sequeira. With the approach of Napoleon's troops, the royal family made a speedy departure from the Palace to Brazil, taking most of the valuable furnishings and works of art with them. However, there still remains many considerable pieces. Mafra continued as a Royal residence right up until the end of the Portuguese monarchy, and it was in Mafra where King Manuel II, the last king of Portugal, spent his last night before leaving for exile in 1910.
Initially designed to home only 13 monks, Mafra's project experienced successive changes, ending in a huge building of approximately 40.00 m2, with all the facilities for 300 Franciscan monks. The King ensured the support of the convent by financing the project from his own treasury. Monks were given alms twice a year, at Christmas and at St. John's day. The alms consisted of tobacco, paper, linen and burel cloth for the habits. Each brother received two habits that he had to wash and mend himself. 120 wine barrels, 70 olive oil barrels or 600 cows, for instance, were spent each year in the Monastery.
Nearby was the fenced garden, with an orchard, several water tanks and four ballgame fields for the monks' recreation, one for the ring game and two to play a traditional game called "laranjinha". In the early 19th century, during the Peninsular War, the convent was occupied by French troops and later by British allied troops. After the dissolution of the religious orders in Portugal, on 30th May 1834, the Monastery was allocated to the army. Today it remains the headquarters of the School of the Arms. Visitors can visit the Cemetery Chapel and the Infirmary, besides the Chapter Room, the Literary Acts (Examination) Hall, the La Lys staircase and the Refectory.
This holiday home is set in a central location within Mafra town, Vila Mafra - Grill Terrace offers a number of townhouses each with free WiFi, seating areas and flat-screen TV. All units include a kitchen, a living room, a private bathroom and a terrace with views of the garden. A dishwasher and oven are also provided, as well as a coffee machine. In the garden you can find barbecue and garden furniture for your comfort. The Palace is within a stones throw as is many amenities including restaurants, cafés and supermarket.
11C Rua Domingos Dias Machado, 2640-534 Mafra, Portugal. | 38º 42' 19.4" N | 09º 23' 42.7" W
This homely and friendly guesthouse is a short distance from the centre of Mafra and the Palace. Each room has free WIFI and satellite TV. There are double rooms with private bathrooms whilst other need to share. A generous breakfast welcome each guest in the morning. With easy parking right outside the house.
13 Rua Pedro Julião, 2640-518 Mafra, Portugal. | 38º 56' 11.34" N | 09º 20' 13.3." W
Quinta do Brejo – Turismo Equestre is a farm with stables. It's surrounded by lush vegetation five and a half miles from Mafra. The Quinta comes with free WiFi access. Set within an inviting rural setting a stay here is an ideal opportunity for relaxing and enjoying a spot of horse-riding, Quinta do Brejo is comprised of typically Portuguese cottages with all the necessary commodities for an enjoyable stay. It's proximity to the sea lends it a natural beauty, which is characteristic of the region. A continental breakfast is served each morning. Guests can have horse riding lessons on site, and the natural surroundings of Quinta do Brejo provides a nice setting for a walk. Ericeira beaches are a 20-minute drive from this farm, and Malveira Train Station is a five minute drive away.
Rua Mestre Nuno Oliveira, Avessada, 2665-402 Santo Estevão das Galés, Mafra, Portugal.
38º 54' 48.15" N | 09º 15' 59.53" | +351 913 075 026 | email@example.com
A small traditional Portuguese restaurant in close proximity to the Palace. The staff smiles are just as generous as their portion sizes yet surprisingly good value considering the location. Ignore the grumpy expression of the cockerel on their logo, I guess he didn't have a good morning.
Monday - Saturday: 11h00 - 15h00/18h30 - 22h00, Sundays: 11h00 - 15h00
13 Rua Primeiro de Dezembro, 2640-454 Mafra, Portugal. | 38º 56' 18.4" N | 09º 19' 41.1" W
+351 261 812 328 | Website
After walking around the Palace and Convent you may feel you've burned up enough calories to be able to afford something naughty… if so head straight to Fradinho. Their signature pastry is the Fradinho which is mainly thought to have some connection to the convent at the palace however it acquired its name by the bakery's founder; Francisco Fradinho. Other than that there is a large selection of cakes and pastries on offer and good coffee to boot. The friendly staff are more than happy to advise and make suggestions.
28-30 Praca da Republica, Centro, Mafra 2640-525, Portugal. |
39º 39' 33.8" N | 08º 49' 28.3" W
+351 261 815 738 | Website
Authentic Japanese cuisine in the heart of Mafra. The sushi and sashimi are excellently prepared and presented using only the finest fresh ingredients. The menu is varied and the staff are very friendly.
|22 miles (35.5km) North West of Lisbon Portela Airport
GET A GREAT DEAL ON YOUR FLIGHT HERE:
|Mafra is 25 Miles (40km) North of Lisbon via the A8 and 14 Miles (22km) North of Sintra via the N9.
Latitude - 38º 42' 49.8" | Longitude - 09º 08' 20.3"
GET A GREAT DEAL ON YOUR CAR HIRE HERE:
|Mafrense buses run hourly from Lisbon, from Sintra train station and Ericeira: Website|