Batalha, a small town in the hills of Leiria, Portugal, has become an important place thanks to the construction of its magnificent monastery, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The monastery was built to celebrate the Portuguese victory against the Castilians in the Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385, in accordance with a vow made to Mary by King Joao before the battle. It has been occupied for the past two centuries by Portugal’s most accomplished traders and royal commandos and estates.
History of Batalha
Batalha was a peaceful town, but it was the scene of Portugal’s most important battle, the Batalha de Aljubarrota in 1385. The battle secured Portugal’s independence from Castile, and in honour of the victory, King Joapso had the Mosteiro da Batalhas built, which is now the most beautiful monastery in Portugal. The monastery represents the transition from Gothic to Manueline architecture, and although it was never completed 100 years after construction, it influenced Portuguese architecture for future generations.
The Monastery of Batalha
The Dominican monastery of Batalha was built in 1385 to commemorate the Portuguese victory against the Castilians in the Battle of Aljubarrota. It was the most important construction project of the Portuguese monarchies for the next two centuries. The original national Gothic style developed under the influence of Manueline art, as his masterpiece of royal cloisters shows.
The Batalha Monastery (Mosteiro de Santa Maria da Vitoria de Batalhas) was founded in 1385 in gratitude for a great military victory and is a great example of medieval Portuguese architecture. The Monastery of the Dominicans of Batalhas built by King Joao I in the same year to commemorate Portuguese victory over the Castilians at the Battle of Aljubarrota is one of Gothic art’s masterpieces. Most of the monumental complex dates from the reign of King Jao I (1385-1433) and the church was completed in 1416, while the royal cloister, chapter house and burial chapel of the king were also built.
In 1385, King Joao I promised that he would build a magnificent monastery to the Virgin Mary if his outnumbered army defeated the Castilians at the important Battle of Aljubarrota. He won, leading to Portugal’s independence from Spain and the monastery. He gave it to the Dominicans and it was built over the next two centuries in Gothic and Manueline style.
The monastery was built thanks to the Virgin Mary after the Battle of Aljubarrota (1385), in which a small Portuguese army of 6,600 men, including a few hundred English archers, under the command of King John Joao I of Portugal and his general Nuno Alvare Pereira defeated a much larger army of 30,000 Castilians. In order to fulfill the prayers of Mary after the victory, King John had the Batalha Monastery built.
On August 14, I385, an event on the grounds of Batalha Monastery took place which would prove decisive for the consolidation of the Portuguese nation. In the Battle of Aljubarrota defeated the Castilian army by Master of Avis and future King of Portugal.
The Batalha Monastery is one of the rare gems of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, like the monastery of Central Portugal at the Battle of Batalha, which attracts not much visitors. But like many historic Portuguese buildings in the capital, tickets to the monastery are relatively inexpensive.
The Batalha Monastery in central Portugal shows the skills of medieval Portuguese architects and stonemasons, with many unique features not seen anywhere else in the country. The large Dominican monastery of Santa Maria da Vitoria in the small town of Batalhas in central Portugal is not only a national shrine but also one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Europe. It rises from the valley floor and is dotted with battlements and gargoyles, rose windows, buttresses and balustrades of fine smooth limestone, which sometimes turns to honey-coloured gold as you gaze at the sunset.
Mosteiro de Santa Maria da Vitoria (Monastery of St. Mary of Victory) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Leiria, central Portugal. It is a tower in the small town of Batalha. It was built a hundred years ago, between the 14th and 16th centuries, to commemorate the Portuguese defeat of the Castilians at the Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385.
The nave of the church is 325 meters high and rests on eight columns on both sides. The monastery houses an important core of Portuguese medieval stained glass windows, as well as admiring chapels and chapels. The later Manueline additions to the original Gothic cloister are a particular highlight, as is the Sala do Capitulo, a chapter room of 15th century with fine stained glass windows.
In addition to the chapels and cloisters, the dormitories of the monastery, the dining room and the kitchen can also be visited. One of the most famous places in the Batalha Monastery is the unfinished chapel of the Capelas Imperfeitas (in Portuguese). The monastery can be enjoyed as a day trip from Lisbon or as a day trip from Porto.
Where to Stay in Batalha
Stay at the Hotel Casa do Outeiro and have a room with a balcony overlooking the Batalha Monastery and its church. The view from the monastery is from a large hill above Porto and is a great place to visit the monastery.