(…) on the Smoke fumes that rise day and night from the hundreds of furnaces of bricks and lime between Mafra and Cascais, the ships that carry different bricks from the Algarve and from Entre-Douro-e-Minho to be unloaded in the Tagus, through a bracing canal at the docks of Santo António do Tojal, on the carts that transport these and other materials through Monte Achique and Pinheiro de Loures to His Majesty’s convent (…) speaking of Baltasar, he is in charge of the yoke of oxen that is carrying the statue of St John of God, the only Portuguese saint among the confraternity that disembarked from Italy at Santo António do Tojal, and is heading for Mafra, like almost everyone else we have mentioned so far in this story.
Classified as a Monument of Public Interest in 2012, this Baroque monumental complex consists of the Archbishops’ Palace and Garden, the Maiden Church, the Fountain-Palace and the Aqueduct. It makes up a square of large scenographic apparatus whose construction and remodelling in the 18th century was authored by the Italian architect António Canevari – at court at the invitation of King D. João V for the construction of the Águas Livres Aqueduct in Lisbon. The first Patriarch of Lisbon, D. Tomás de Almeida, wished the construction of this monumental square to transform the rural property into a place of grandeur that would symbolize its high social status. The palace, which was the summer residence of the Patriarch, received the King and the court several times, and it was here that the famous ceremonies of the Blessing of the Bells took place.
This is an example of residential and religious baroque architecture. It is an ecclesiastical palace with a church joined and connected by a tribune, designed in a U-shape and composed of three bodies: a central one and two side ones. It has two floors and an interior staircase, which gives access to the noble floor, placed in its central wing. The armoured gate imposes itself on the square and allows access to the interior courtyard. Inside, the state staircase with three figures in cobalt blue and antimony yellow and the representations of exotic animals stand out. On the noble floor, the various rooms feature beautiful 18th century panels, of great pictorial quality and thematic diversity.
The fountain, designed by Canevari, is a central architectural piece of the square and is the centre of a strong visual and scenographic importance, and is accentuated by the water, which falls from the masks. The stone fountain, in the centre of the palace facade, is preceded by stairs and composed of a tank with a curvilinear profile, and is topped by a pediment with the weapons of D. Tomás de Almeida, flanked by bonfires.
The first references to the church date back to the 13th century. It was rebuilt in the 16th century and again later rebuilt by D. Tomás de Almeida. Highlight to its church porch with elegant tile panels is due. On the main facade we should highlight the beautiful statues in Italian marble, the images of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception (Imaculada Conceição), Saint João of God and Queen Saint Elizabeth. Nearby a large richly decorated tent was set up in October 1730 to receive the bells bound for the Royal Construction of Mafra after the ceremonies of their blessing. Inside, the Renaissance-inspired room known as the Blessing Room stands out. This was where the Patriarch attended the religious ritual while allowing access to the square through a balcony.
This rectangular garden of a single layout is composed of several lanes and walls that are ornamented in tile panels with depicting vases of flowers mark out its main one. Also inside this baroque garden are two symmetrical tanks decorated with elegant wreaths, which are part of a hydraulic system. One can also see the lofts that depict wreaths and tile medallions of classic inspiration and two high backrest benches coated with tile panels, at the bottom of perspective shafts.
The Italian architect António Canevari built it in 1728. It runs over 2km, in a perfect back arch, laid upon thick pillars, which become successively narrower when approaching the village. It has an underground section near its source in Pintéus. The construction aimed to supply water to the monumental fountain and palace, as well as to the village.
Built around the same time by António Canevari, this fountain is known as the Arches Fountain. This is a small element compared to the rest of the site. It consists of a small tank with a niche where a mask is inserted, from which water comes out. Immediately above is a Latin inscription, requesting prayer in exchange for the water provided, surpassed by a bas-relief representing a scene of the torment of the souls in purgatory.
A set of three Steps of the Way of the Cross, which are large and built in stonework and scattered throughout the village. We highlight step number three, located in the vicinity of the public washhouse, which features a large backrest of counter curved finial, in stone masonry. In the centre it has a Renaissance span of marble masons, surmounted by entablature and a very protruding triangular cornice. On the vertex of the cornice is a marble Latin cross.
This is a wealthy house with an irregular polygonal and unique design and regularly torn by straight windows. On the west facade, it has a door in the style of Manueline decoration, bevelled edges and a carina trim. It was here that this illustrious botanist was born on November 25, 1744. In addition to botany, he also stood out in several areas of knowledge, such as humanities and medicine, having also been elected to the Constituent Courts of 1820.
This is a Latin cross composed of plinth and based on a square platform of three levels. It is located in a square near the old Espírito Santo Chapel. Its construction dates from 1555, according to the inscription on the pedestal: this cross was ordered by Sebastião Luis in 1555. Sebastião Luis, was an overseer in the Portuguese city of Malacca and founder of the chapel of Santo António (Saint Anthony), inside the Matrix of Santo Antão do Tojal, and where he was buried.
This is an example of religious architecture in the sixteenth-century. A rectangular chapel composed of a nave and chancel, the latter having a crib vault ceiling, illuminated evenly by torn windows on the side facades. The main gable facade is framed by stonework wedges and is torn by a Renaissance portal, topped by a frieze and triangular pediment. The building is currently vacant.
Caniceiras Ecosystem is located in Várzea de Loures, in the parish of Santo Antão do Tojal, and is classified as a wetland. Its ecosystem is rich but sensitive, vulnerable and extremely threatened. This is an area of wetlands with about 14 hectares; it is an important refuge – nesting and feeding – for several species of water birds, some in danger of extinction, as is the case for other fauna. It is worth highlighting the presence of the “Boga-de-Lisboa” (Chondrostoma olisiponensis).
José Vaz de Carvalho built this palace in the mid 18th century. On the pink plastered façade, a baroque pediment with the weapons of the family and those of the Azevedo Coutinho is centred on the door. Inside the dining house, a historic room especially built by José Vaz de Carvalho to receive the sovereign, King D. João V on his way to Mafra to visit the Royal Construction, used to stand out. The chapel of the house is not incorporated into the palace; it was built at a certain distance and still serves the population today. It was in this house that Maria Amália Vaz de Carvalho spent much of her youth and it was surely here that she awakened her vocation as a writer.
Quinta das Carrafouchas is one of the many examples of the baroque production and recreational farms built in the 18th century in the surrounding regions of Lisbon. These places of privilege allowed their owners to retire to a more bucolic and somewhat isolated environment without having to move too far out from the big city and the court. This noble building of baroque style has a frontal, rhythmic construction, with a great sense of harmony, developing in the sense of fulfilment and is facing the public road. It has three distinct elements, consisting of the chapel, residence and the courtyard wall, sealed by an armoured portal. In the extension of the house we can find the chapel, which is distinguished from the rest of the building by a small bell tower, the interior is of a single nave and the walls are covered with 18th century tiles. The chapel is dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Also in the courtyard, the eighteenth-century tiles with hunting scenes stand out.
In the palace, summer residence, D. Tomás de Almeida received the King’s visits several times when he went to Mafra to accompany the Royal Construction. To ensure the navigability of vessels of quite a significant size size, King João V had the arm of the Trancão River, the so-called Princess Estuary, widened. It was through this canal that the statues and bells destined for the Royal Construction of Mafra came from Lisbon, starting at Ribeira das Naus, docking in the River port of Santo Antão do Tojal, and then heading to their destination in carts pulled by ox through the royal road that connected the village of Santo Antão do Tojal, to Fanhões, Montachique, and finally arriving at Mafra. King D. João V and his brother, Infante D. Francisco, came to Santo Antão do Tojal, on two different boats, on October 5 1730 for the Ceremony of the Blessing of the Bells, presided by the 1st Patriarch of Lisbon Tomás de Almeida. In 1760, according to the Parish Memories, there were 150 small communities, in which a thousand people lived.