Once upon a time there was a king who made a promise and built a convent. He could have done it elsewhere, but he chose Mafra, simultaneously near the city, the countryside and the sea.
And so the most important monument of the Portuguese Baroque was designed: due to its size, as it is at the same time a Royal Palace, a Convent, a Basilica, and a library, including a wild game park and garden; and to its prestigious equipment, which strengthens the building’s connection to music.
In all these instruments, the two Carillons stand out, consisting of 98 bells musically tuned with each other, as well as the six organs, a unique ensemble, not only due to their number – a remarkable feature in itself – but to the fact that they were built at the same time and originally conceived to play together.
This instrumental tradition is also present in historical organs of four other Churches of Municipality of Mafra, in the parishes of Encarnação, Ericeira, Gradil and Livramento.
Today, the Municipality of Mafra is a territory of open opportunities, wisely combining history and modernity. Due to the investment in the road network, Mafra is situated just 30 minutes from the airport in the Portuguese capital. The tourism industry blooms, associated with erudite and popular culture, but also due to nature tourism, especially to the wave sports practiced on the coast of Ericeira, that has been distinguished as a "World Surfing Reserve”.
Recent initiatives such as the installation of the National Music Museum, the creation of the Score Documentary Center, the announcement of the restoration of the Carillons, the institution of the "International Composition Award for the Organs of the Mafra National Palace" and joining the European Cities of Historical Organs are projecting internationally the unique cultural vocation of Mafra Municipality.
Hélder Sousa Silva
Mayor of Mafra