The Mafra palace


Every morning King D. João V looked in the mirror and told his reflection: you’re magnificent!  There was only one cloud in his life: he did not have an heir to the throne. So, he promised that, if Queen D. Maria Ana got pregnant, he would build a magnificent monastery. That is, according to legend, how the Mafra Palace came to be built.

Financed with gold from Brazil, it features sumptuous accommodations for the king and queen, a magnificent Basilica with six pipe organs, and an enormous library.  This library has been preserved by a colony of bats that prey on the insects that would otherwise devour the book pages. It is well worth it to visit this 18th century palace built by a vain Portuguese king for an austere Austrian queen, guarded by Franciscan monks and their learned bats.

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