- Posted April 3, 2014 by
Las Cruces, New Mexico
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Your favorite libraries
Portugal's Royal Library
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
The Royal Convent of Mafra, later known as the National Palace of Mafra, is one of the most significant baroque structures of Portugal located only 17 miles from Lisbon. It was commissioned by King John V in 1717 and houses one of the most significant book/manuscript collections from the 14th to the 19th century.
The Library of the Convent of Mafra is located on the second floor of the building with magnificent mosaic marble and wood bookshelves carved by Manuel Caetano de Sousa in the Rococo style.
It measures 289 feet long, by 31 feet wide and 42 feet high. Its collection of over 36,000 leather-bounded volumes includes printed books and manuscripts on a variety of subjects such as medicine, pharmacy, history, geography, travelling, philosophy, theology, canonic and civil laws, mathematics, art, natural history, sermons, literature, music sheets from Portuguese and foreign composers and a large collection of bibles.
One aspect of the preservation of the books is accomplished in a most unusual way. A small colony of bats that occupy the library keep the "paper eating" insect population in check.