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town, west-central Portugal. It lies near the Atlantic Ocean, 18 miles (29 km) northwest of Lisbon. It is noted primarily for the National Palace (also containing a church and monastery), built (1717-35) by King John V in thanksgiving for the birth of a son and heir to the throne. The building, which measures 700 feet (213 m) from east to west and 800 feet (244 m) from north to south, contains more than 860 rooms and has a magnificent library. The church, which is sumptuously built of marble and richly adorned with statues, low reliefs, and other objects of art, contains sculptures by the 16th-century artist Machado de Castro. In each of the towers is a carillon of 57 bells. Mafra itself is a manufacturing and agricultural trade centre. Limestone, basalt, granite, marble, and alabaster are quarried in the area. Pop. (latest est.) 5,464.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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