The Batalha Monastery Portugal is a Unesco site and considered one of the country's architectural masterpieces. Gothic style and Manueline influence were used to commemorate the victory of the troops. It is one of the 3 major monasteries outside of Lisbon.
Information to plan your visit at the end of the article
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Monastery of Batalha in Video Video
Let's start with a short video, to give you an idea of what it looks like to visit the Monastery of Batalha Portugal.
Approaching the Batalha Monastery Portugal
From the outside, you approach the Monastery from a large walking square. Signs can be found outside with some explanation about the Monastery.
The entrance is via the church. The front door is impressive with a lot of sculptures and carvings.
Every single piece of sculpture is detailed and symbolic. I could have spent a full hour just on the façade but I had to move on... lol
Map and Facts of Batalha Monastery Portugal
Before I lead you inside the famous building, here are a few facts about the monastery:
- The monastery of Batalha (Mosteiro da Batalah) is also called Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitoria
- Its name means Monastery of the Battle because it was built to represents the victory of the Portuguese troops at the Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385
- Built in the 14th century and modified through to the 16th century
- Its original Gothic styled evolve to incorporate the Manueline art (as you will see in the magnificent Royal Cloister.
- Added to the Unesco World heritage list in 1983, it is one of the most visited monuments in Portugal
Below is the map of the things to do in the Batalha monastery, the different sections to visit: You enter via the nave of the church, you can visit the 2 square cloisters and the round unfinished chapels.
Church of Batalha Monastery
You first enter via the church. Entrance to this section is free. You can purchase your tickets inside.
The church is quite narrow, which makes it look even taller (32.4 meter in height vs 22m in width). It is not heavily decorated. It remains simple with beautiful carvings and elegant stained glass windows.
Founder's Chapel at Batalha Monastery
At the end of the nave you can visit the Founder's chapel. It was built in the 15th century as a pantheon of Kin Joao I and the Avis Dynasty.
Originally, it had a pyramidal roof. But It collapsed during the Earthquake of 1755.
In the center is the Tomb of King Joao I and his wife, who reigned during the 14 and 15th centuries)
Don't forget to look up to discover the octagon roof.
Royal Cloister of King Joao I
I found the Royal Cloister the best part of the visit. I spent quite some times admiring the corridors and the play of light through the carvings.
It was built between 1386 and 1515, and as you can see finished in the Manueline style.
Around the cloister you can visit the chapterhouse with the Tombs of 2 unknown soldiers protected by military personnel. I decided not to photograph. The stained glass window inside dates back to 1508.
Many architects have participated over the years. New technics were implemented.
The Basin (Lavabo in Portuguese) was an element of the hydraulic systems. It was located near the entrance to the refectory for people to wash hands.
Cloister of King Afonso V
Next stop is another square cloister. The contrast is very surprising.
This cloister was built during the reign of King Afonso V (15th century). It is visually very simple and representative of the austere gothic style.
Unfinished Chapels at Monastery of Batlaha
One of the most famous places at the Batalha Monastery are the unfinished chapes (Capelas Imperfeitas in Portuguese).
They were commissionned by King Duarte in the 15th century for his pantheon. King Koao III (16th century) tried to finish the chapels too.
You have to get outside from the Cloister to reenter the building on the other side. As you can see on the photo below, to the left the towers are not supporting any roof... hence the 'unfinished'...
Once again we discovered a lot of very detailed carvings all around.
View of Batalha Monastery
From the hotel I stayed in, Hotel Casa do Outeiro, some rooms have a balcony and a view over the Batalha Monastery and its church. A really magnificent view!
INFO & PLANNING TIPS - Batalha Monastery Portugal
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Fascinating, isn't it?
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