Thursday, October 12, 2017

Royal Palace and Monastery - Mafra Palace, Portugal

The palace and the facilities are used only as temporary residence when they came for hunting in the Tapada Hunting grounds nearby.
The dining hall is simple and a little austere.
The King's chamber situated in the North tower, has a Gondola bed made with Mahogany wood and matching side units are place on a slightly raised wooden platform.The portrait of King Joao VI looks down from the right side of the bed.
One can a series of doors in alignment through the front part of the palace
The Music room or the Yellow room as it is called because of the Yellow curtains,  upholstered chairs and seating in this room. A grand Piano sits grandly in the centre of this room, surrounded by several seating arrangements. Several painting and lithographs adorn the walls. You cannot help but love this room. It is pleasant, light and airy. Can imagine those attending piano recitals sitting around must have enjoyed the whole experience!
A group of tiny tots were taken on a school field trip round the Palace. Well guarded and shepherded by teachers, the kids seemed to have a wonderful time. A couple of Palace staff dressed in the costume of the King and Queen play acted their roles for the benefit of the kids, made me wish I was a kid! What a great way of teaching the children the history! 
This set of table and chairs looks unusual at first glace, but still a table and chairs. On closer inspection, you will notice that the legs of the chairs and the table are made of huge antlers! Rest of the furniture in this hall, called the Antler Hunting Trophy room, are made of the antlers. Antlers everywhere, hanging from the ceiling as chandeliers, hung on the walls and displayed in the frames. Must appreciate the ingenuity of the craftsmen and artisans in fashioning the sturdy, stable and functional furniture. I was impressed!
The main attraction in Palacio Nacional da Mafra is this huge library. House to a treasure of around 40,000 books, from the world over, the library can boast of several first editions and translations. In the plan of a cross, the longest side measures 88m. and 9.5m in width. The bookshelves are made in Rococo style, are arranged in two levels, the books on the upper level can be accessed from a gallery. Visitors are not allowed to touch the books. 
The Copper pots and pans used during the time the palace was in active use, are still displayed in the kitchen. The kitchen is big and covered in ceramic tiles. Even those days, they used the tiles for easy cleaning and maintaining hygiene.For the first time in Europe, water was pumped to the kitchen; the pumping arrangement being located in the garden next to the palace.
Herringbone pattern of brick flooring, polished to a shine. I just loved it.
The refectory is a long hall, simple, austere and befitting the character of the place.
The infirmary is a big rectangular hall where cubicles are made and heavy curtains for privacy are hung on the front. Each cubicle has a wooden bed, a small chest. On the wall above the headboard, picture of Christ in tiles is hung. Whether they are monks or soldiers, the sick and injured are treated here in this infirmary. There are rooms to store medicines in various bottles and containers. One end of the infirmary has a chapel. Those who are too ill to go to the Basilica, can do their prayers here itself.
The queens chambers are equally impressive with its furniture and paintings.  
Out of the 1200 rooms, only a few are open to public, rest occupied by the Military since 1849 till date.  

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