Mafra Palace

On-route back to Cascais we take a flying visit to the Palace of Mafra, a monumental Baroque and Italianized Neoclassical palace-monastery.

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*Wikipedia alert* The imposing façade, built of local limestone, is 220 m long and faces the town of Mafra.

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At each end of the façade stands a square tower with a bulbous dome, such as found in Central Europe.

The church, built in white marble, is located in the centre of the main façade, symmetrically flanked on both sides by the royal palace.

Construction began in 1717 and was completely concluded in 1755. Construction lasted 13 years and utilised a vast army of workers from the entire country -a daily average of 15,000 but at the end climbing to 30,000 and a maximum of 45,000.

The palace was classified as a National Monument in 1910, and was also one of the finalists of the Seven Wonders of Portugal.

The two church towers (68 m high) are inspired by the towers of Sant’Agnese in Agone

Their two carillons (a type of musical instrument consisting of at least 23 bells) contain a total of 92 church bells.

The story goes that the Flemish bell-founders were so astonished by the size of their commission, that they asked to be paid in advance.

These carillons constitute the largest historical collection in the world.

 

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