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The Mafra National Palace is a monumental Baroque and Italianized Neoclassical palace-monastery located in Mafra, Portugal. Its dimensions are so huge that it dwarfs the city. The palace-monastery is said to be Portugal's attempt to rival the Spanish palace at Escorial outside Madrid, Spain, but was built more like a response to the power of Vatican, having the monastery a similar loom to the Pope's official residence.

The palace, which also served as a Franciscan monastery, was built during the reign of King John V (1707-1750), in consequence of a vow made by the king in 1711, who promised to build a convent if his wife, the Queen Mary Anne of Austria, gave him descendants. The birth of his first daughter, the princess Barbara of Braganza, made the king initiate the construction of the palace.

This vast complex is among the most sumptuous Baroque buildings in Portugal. The palace was built symmetrically from a central axis, occupied by the basilica, and continues lengthwise through the main façade until two major towers. The structures of the convent are located behind the main façade. The building also includes a major library, with about 40,000 rare books

The Rococo library, situated at the back of the second floor, is truly the highlight of this palace, rivalling the grandeur of the library of the Melk Abbey in Austria. Built by Manuel Caetano de Sousa, this library is 88 m long, 9.5 m wide and 13 m high. The magnificent floor is covered with tiles of rose, grey and white marble. The wooden bookshelves in Rococo style are situated on the sidewalls in two rows, separated by a balcony with a wooden railing. They contain over 35,000 leather-bound volumes, attesting of the extent of western knowledge from the 14th to the 19th century. Among them, are many valuable bibliographical jewels, such as incunabula. These beautiful finished volumes were bound in the local workshop (Livraria) in the rocaille style (also by Manuel Caetano de Sousa).

Besides natural techniques of conservation for the books, such as the lack of space between the wall and the book (so it doesn't create humidity), there are also a few bats that inhabit this library eating any insect that could destroy this invaluable treasure.

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