Start of the construction of the Mafra Palace-Convent
The Palace of Mafra (Portuguese: Palácio de Mafra) is a monumental Baroque and Italianized Neoclassical palace-monastery located in Mafra, Portugal, some 28 kilometres from Lisbon. Construction began in 1717 and was completely concluded in 1755. The palace was classified as a National Monument in 1910, and was also one of the finalists of the Seven Wonders of Portugal.
The palace, which also served as a Franciscan friary, was built during the reign of King John V (1707–1750), as consequence of a vow the king made in 1711, to build a convent if his wife, Queen Mariana, gave him offspring. The birth of his first daughter the Infanta Barbara of Portugal, prompted construction of the palace to begin. The palace was conveniently located near royal hunting preserves, and was usually a secondary residence for the royal family.
This vast complex, largely built of Lioz stone, is among the most sumptuous Baroque buildings in Portugal and at 40,000 m², one of the largest royal palaces. Designed by the German architect João Frederico Ludovice, the palace was built symmetrically from a central axis, occupied by the basilica, and continues lengthwise through the main façade until two major towers. The structures of the convent are located behind the main façade. The building also includes a major library, with about 30,000 rare books.
The basilica is decorated with several Italian statues and includes six historical pipe organs and two carillons, composed of 98 bells.