National Hunting Grounds of Mafra and their history.
The Palace–Convent of Mafra, a major work of architecture built in the reign of King João V, owes its origins to a vow made by the King to found a Franciscan friary, if Queen Maria Anna of Austria were to bear him the child he so longed for. His wish was fulfilled in 1711, the year in which Princess Maria Barbara was born. However, construction on the palace only began in 1717, and its consecration took place in 1730.
In 1744 the King ordered the purchase of land that was to become the Royal Hunting Grounds – The Tapada de Mafra. It consisted of 1201 hectares surrounded by a 21 km stone wall. It was intended as a recreational hunting park for the King and Court, and to provide firewood and water to the convent.
In the 19th century, the land was divided into three main areas that served different purposes.
In 1941, the area corresponding to the National Hunting Grounds of Mafra, consisting of 833 hectares, was designated a forestry area, and placed under the auspices of the national forestry services and managed from a more environmental perspective.
In 1998, a public Interest Cooperative was set up that ensures the current management of the grounds.
On 7 July, 2019, the Royal Building of Mafra, comprising the Palace, Basílica, Convent, Cerco Garden and Hunting Grounds was classified as UNESCO world Heritage.