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UNESCO adds Palacio de Mafra and Bom Jesus do Monte to its World Heritage Site List in Portugal


Palacio de Mafra and Bom Jesus do Monte become first sites in Portugal achieve World Heritage Site classification since 2013. Both sites join the list of 36 new inscriptions following World Heritage Committee meeting in Azerbaijan.

The iconic Portuguese landmarks Palacio de Mafra and Bom Jesus do Monte, have both been classified as World Cultural Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) at the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee in Baku, Azerbaijan on Sunday.

Of the 36 new inscriptions from across the world, the Palacio de Mafra, an 18th century monument located 25km outside of Lisbon, and Bom Jesus do Monte, one of the most iconic Portuguese sanctuaries, near Braga (55 km north from Porto) were both chosen as part of an illustrious list of heritage sites that are considered to be important to the whole of humanity.

The distinction of the Palacio de Mafra encompasses the Royal Building of Mafra, which consists of the Palace, Basilica, Convent, Cerco Garden and Royal Hunting Grounds. Both sites become the first in Portugal to receive the classification since the University of Coimbra was selected in 2013.

The World Heritage Committee meets once a year and consists of 21 representatives from the State Parties to the Convention, in which they identify the sites to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which also includes the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Following the announcement, President of the Portuguese Tourism Board, Luis Araujo, said: "This is excellent news, since we now have two more important arguments for the promotion and visibility of the country.”

Portugal now has 17 UNESCO heritage sites within its national territory, whilst there are also 11 that are classified world heritage of Portuguese origin.

In addition to the Bom Jesus Braga and Mafra Palace, the 15 other places in Portugal in this distinguished list include:

  • Historic Centre of Guimaraes
  • Historic Centre of Oporto, Luiz I Bridge and Monastery of Serra do Pilar
  • Alto Douro Wine Region
  • Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Coa Valley and Siega Verde
  • University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia
  • Monastery of Alcobaca
  • Monastery of Batalha
  • Convent of Christ in Tomar
  • Cultural Landscape of Sintra
  • Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belem in Lisbon
  • Historic Centre of Evora
  • Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications
  • Laurisilva of Madeira
  • Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture

Furthermore, Portugal also has 7 further recognitions that have earned the distinction of Intangible Heritage of Humanity, bringing the country’s total of UNESCO heritage classifications to 24:

  • Fado music
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Cante alentejano
  • Manufacture of Cowbells
  • Art of Falconry
  • Bisalhaes black pottery manufacturing process
  • Craftmanship of Estremoz clay figures
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