Batalha Monastery (Monastery Santa Maria da Vitória) - 2 centuries to build and still unfinished
Batalha Monastery (Monastery Santa Maria da Vitória) - 2 centuries to build and still unfinished Reviews
Batalha Feb 07, 2017
Monday, June 1, 2009
This Gothic masterpiece MONASTERY OF SANTA MARIA DA VITORIA or Mosteiro de Santa Maria da Vitoria, is a UNESCO World Heritage monument.
Building began in 1388, after King Joao I made a vow to the Virgin Mary that he would build a magnificent monastery, if she granted him a victory over the Castillians in the Battle of Aljubarrota. Of course, they were victorious as the Monastery was built.
The exterior of the Monastery has innumerable Pinnacles, buttresses and balustrades above Gothic windows. The front Portal is decorated with statues of the twelve apostles in intricate and wonderful Gothic style.
My absolute favorite part of the Monastery was the roofless Unfinished Chapel. Loved the Manueline style of architecture used.
Part of the list PORTUGAL
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A precious gem Jun 08, 2015
The monastery was built to celebrate a great victory against the Spanish, that saved our independence.
The hero was Nuno Alvares Pereira, that later, distributed by the poor the whole of his great fortune and became a monk. He was, recently proclaimed saint by the Pope, under the name of Nuno de Santa Maria.
In Batalha he is still remembered by his military role, wit a great statue.
Entering the church one of the highlights is immediately at your right.
The Royal Chapel
Entering the monastery, at your right, stands the royal chapel, with the tombs of the king Joâo I and most of his family (his son, king Duarte, is in "Capelas Imperfeitas", an adjacent mausoleum that you should not miss for any reason).
A very delicate room, it's a festival of light and fine details, making it a real royal place.
Most people visiting kings chapel, in Batalha, are impressed by the games of light produced by the stained glasses, and risk to dedicate less attention to the tombs.
It's a pity, because they are wonderful, and help to understand the importance in Portuguese history of all this royal family.
The Founders Chapel was the first Portuguese pantheon, and has in the centre the tombs of king João I and his wife, Filipa de Lencastre, surrounded by many other tombs of the king's sons and their family. Henry, the navigator is one of them, and only Duarte is missing (he is buried in another space in the monastery, maybe the most beautiful - the Unfinished Chapels
The visit of this chapel and the church is free, but the cloisters and unfinished chapels do deserve the 4 € for the ticket, so, go ahead to the ticket office at left.
The Royal cloister was made by Afonso Domingues and Huguet, and it's interesting to observe the coexistence of both styles. In the XVI century Manueline elements were added.
From the Cloister you may access the Capitulo room, where is the tomb of the Portuguese unknown soldier. The exit will be through the Afonso V Cloister (unfinished) and the dining room, used as a small museum.
World War 1
Inside the monastery, in the "Capítulo" room, there is the tomb of our unknown soldier, always with a military guard. Close to it, there's a small museum remembering our sad participation in WW1.
Not remarkable, but interesting and free to those who entered the cloisters.
Unfinished chapel - Capelas Imperfeitas
Accessible from outside but sharing the ticket, in the back, the Unfinished Chapels are a unique marvel.
Dom Duarte, eldest son of João and Filipa de Lencastre, was the second king of Avis dynasty, and commissioned a royal mausoleum in the church that was the family’s masterpiece.
With an octagonal shape, the chapel were never finished, which did not prevent his burial in place.
With the works lasting for centuries, the original design was transformed by Dom Manuel’s architects, and evidence clearly the several styles (Gothic, and Manueline). One late balcony in Renaissance style, flags the end of the works, already in the 17th century.
Part of the Distrito de Leiria travel blog
Oct 05, 2007
When you want to see something Portuguese and Gothic architecture, a Portuguese would suggest a visit to the Batalha monastery or Monastery Santa Maria da Vitória. The next word though is "unfinished" eventhough its construction almost spanned 2 centuries (1386-1517), spanning the reign of 7 kings and taking enormous efforts of 15 architects. It was built by order of King John I in gratitude for his glorious victory over the Castilian army in the Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385, which brought Portugal its independence from Spain. It's being unfinished made the Batalha monastery unique and was added by UNESCO on it's World Heritage sites.
The exterior was made of limestone that has turned yellow orche after the long years. The chapel also shows a good example of the Manueline style which can be seen from its doorway at the west portal that has been built in a succession of arches and slender columns which has been meticulously decorated A part of it called the Chapter House is famous for its amazing vaulted ceiling. Without any central support, it’s one of the most daring examples in European Gothic architecture. According to legend, its architect, Afonso Domingues, slept under it for 3 days just to prove that it would not fall down.
Part of the Portugal 2007 travel blog