Online Encyclopedia

MAFRA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 300 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MAFRA, a town of Portugal, in the district of Lisbon (formerly in the province of Estremadura); near the Atlantic coast and the right bank of the river Lizandro, and 20 M. N.W. of Lisbon. Pop. (1900), 4769. Mafra is remarkable for its monastery, church, and palace, built by John V. in 1717-1732, in consequence of a vow made during a dangerous illness to build a convent for the poorest friary of the kingdom—which proved to be a small Franciscan settlement here. The architects, Johann Friedrich Ludwig of Regensburg, and his son Johann Peter, took the Escurial for their model; but the imitation is less successful than the original, though the cost exceeded £4,000,000. The building is in the form of a parallelogram measuring upwards of 800 ft. from north to south and 700 ft. from east to west; it is said to contain 866 rooms, and to be lighted by no fewer than 5200 windows. The centre is occupied by the church, sumptuously built of marble, and richly adorned with statues and other objects of art. In each of the twin towers there is a chime of 57 bells. Part of the palace, originally designed as barracks, is used as a military academy. Adjoining the palace are fine gardens and a royal model farm.
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