In the shade of the Convent
Formed for two resident nucleus, the Old Village, constituted around of the old castle, and the New Village, developed in the shade of the Convent, Mafra is seat of council and judicial district. Conquered to the Trojans in 1147, it received charter in 1190.
Archaeological vestiges suggest that the today called town of Mafra was inhabited at least since the Neolithic period. The origin of the Mafra term continues in mystery, knowing only that it developed from Mafara (1189), Malfora (1201) and Mafora (1288).
Some authors had found in its origin the Turanian archetype Mahara, the great Ara, vestige of a cult of feminine fertility long ago existing in the hoop of the village. Others, had consolidated the name in the Arab Mahfara, the hollow, in the presumption that the population was found implanted in a hollow, fact contradicted for the recognized Arabist David Lopes. The Village is, for certain, situated in a hill, surrounded for two valleys where run the small streams known for River Gordo and River of Couros.
It is also certain that Mafra was a fortified village, and it is possible to see today in Tecedeiras Street, a little of the wall that surrounded it.
The limits of the castle, that everything leads to believe, seat on a Neolithic town, successively reoccupied until the Age of the Iron, included all the zone of the "Old Village", that today includes in the delimited space in East by Largo Coronel Brito Gorjão, in South by the Tecedeiras Street, in West by the Palace of the Marquises of Ponte de Lima and in North by Detrás do Castelo Street. The designation is related with the fact of the population, literally, turn one’s back on to the flank north, for being the most exposed to the winds. The dense forest that existed until the XIX century in Quinta da Cerca, constituted of trees of big-sized, would strengthen the windbreak.
In 1147, Mafra is conquered to the Trojans by D. Afonso Henriques, and in 1189 the village is donated by King D. Sancho I to the Bishop of Silves, D. Nicolau, who in the following year confers it, the first charter.
In Guide of Council of Mafra (www.mafra.net)