Admirers of the writings of Portugal’s Nobel laureate José Saramago should be delighted to learn that the Palace of Mafra, built between 1717 and 1750 under King João V, is among the latest additions to the UNESCO World Heritage list. Its construction was the prime subject of Saramago’s historical novel of 1982, ‘Memorial do Convento’ (in English, ‘Baltasar and Blimunda’), which has sold over a million copies in Portugal and has been translated into numerous languages. Located near Lisbon, the complex consists of a royal palace, a basilica, a convent and a garden. Its consecration by UNESCO (dated 7 July 2019) in parallel with that of another Portuguese site, the Basílica do Bom Jesús do Monte near Braga, brings Portugal’s tally of World Heritage sites to 17.

See UNESCO’s official site, at (for the news): and (description of the complex):

See also article on this blog of 22 November 2007: ‘THE CONVENT OF MAFRA AND 25 YEARS OF JOSÉ SARAMAGO’s “MEMORIAL DO CONVENTO”’

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