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Top 6 Must-See Attractions in Batalha

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Publication

July 10, 2024

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Reading time

10 minutes

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Author

Galyna Rogovska

Interesting Information

In the heart of Portugal is a small town called Batalha, which means “Battle” in Portuguese. This place is a top destination for connoisseurs of medieval culture, history, and Gothic architecture. The famous Monastery of Batalha, attractive to visitors from all over the World, is located here. Although the city is tiny, with a population of just over 7 thousand people, thousands of tourists come here every year to see the grandeur and beauty of the Gothic cathedrals firsthand.

The Monastery of Batalha

The Dominican Monastery of Batalha is an architectural object on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Construction of the monastery in the International Gothic style began in 1385, according to a vow of King John I. He thanked the Virgin Mary for the king’s victory over the Castilians at the Battle of Aljubarrota. 

Image for Monastery of Batalha

Six subsequent kings also played an active role in the monastery’s construction and found their last peace here. Among them are the famous Duarte I and Prince Henry the Navigator. Construction stopped in 1517 when the major forces were transferred to constructing the Jeronimos monastery in Belem.

 

In the 19th century, the initiative group carried out large-scale restoration work in Batalha, and they opened a national museum here in 1980. Let’s look at the city’s major attractions to help you get the best impression of it on a one-day visit.

 

Its distinctive feature was the image of an astrolabe, which sailors used to navigate using the stars. The Batalha Monastery is one of the most striking examples of the mixture of Gothic and Manueline styles. This beautiful, openwork architectural style is noticeably different from everything created in Europe in the middle and late Middle Ages and most likely even had some Indian features.

 

Location: Largo Infante Dom Henrique, 2440-109 Batalha, Portugal

Pantheon of Portuguese Kings

Right in front is the sarcophagus of Duarte I and his wife, Eleanor of Aragon. She outlived her husband and, therefore, called herself the sad queen.

King Duarte reigned for only five years but went down in history thanks to his plans to conquer the northern part of the African continent.

 

Besides João I and his wife Philippa, their sons Enrique (better known as Henry the Navigator) and Duarte I, and other glorious rulers, such as Alfonso V, are also buried in the dome. The lions at the base of the coffin indicate royal origin.

 

Location: Largo Infante Dom Henrique, 2440-109 Batalha, Portugal

Igreja Matriz da Batalha

Church of the Exaltation of Santa Cruz is a small baroque temple built in the 16th century. The entrance group is a beautiful arch. But inside, everything is very modest, with plain white walls. In the middle is a small altar with the Virgin Mary holding Christ. The roof is simple and made from wooden elements, so prayers are not distracted from communication with God by bright interior details.

The church has a longitudinal plan inside, and you’ll recognise various elements built over the following centuries because of restructuring and donations to the church.

After the 1858 earthquake, the original ceilings and floors were replaced. The bell tower was also heightened as a result of the rebuilding.

 

Location: Estr. de Fátima 10A, Batalha, Portugal

Castle of Porto de Mos

The castle in the village of Porto de Mos, south of Batalha, is worth visiting. Built in the 13th century, it once served as a fortified palace but suffered serious damage during the 1755 earthquake.

 

The cone-shaped green towers and the loggia, surprising in their sophistication, have survived. When going on vacation to Batalha, you can also admire the region’s natural attractions, such as the bizarre rock formations near Porto de Mos.

 

The Municipal Museum houses evidence of the region’s thousand-year history. Here are the fossil remains of dinosaurs and various objects indicating the presence of humans in these parts in different historical eras. The items of processed and polished stone (Paleolithic and Neolithic), coins, and spearheads from the Roman era are a significant part of the exhibition.

 

The surrounding area is the Natural Park of Serra de Aire and Serra dos Candeheiros, with limestone slopes, underground passages, and caves open to the public, such as Santo Atnoinu, Alvados, and Mira de Aire. On the surface, among the traditional villages and stone mills, there is evidence of dinosaurs at the Pedreira do Galinha quarry, as well as evidence from the Roman era, the most striking of which is the cobbled road to Alqueidan da Serra.

 

Location: R. do Castelo 3, Porto de Mós, Portugal


 

Battle of Aljubarrote Interpretation Center

This historical center is an open-air museum where you can learn about Portugal’s history and watch a documentary film. You can also learn about the Battle of the Castilians and King Juan’s glorious victory.
 

Children can pick up swords and other weapons, try on knightly armor, and much more. Therefore, it is exciting to visit this place with children.
 

In 1383, King Fernando I of Portugal died without leaving a legal heir. His only daughter, Princess Beatrice, was married to King Juan I of Castile. The regent, Queen Donna Leonor Teles, and her beloved Duke, Andeiro, ruled the country. 
 

The people did not like this rule very much. In addition, this situation meant the loss of independence for the Portuguese. As a result, the Battle happened, the story of which is presented in the interactive museum.
 

Location: Av. Dom, Av. Nuno Álvares Pereira 120, 2480-062 Porto de Mós, Portugal


 

Eco Park Pia do Urso

It is a small natural park where you can see old medieval buildings that have miraculously survived to this day. Pia do Urso has several zones, and the route passes through the forest as a labyrinth. It will be exciting to spend time with children here. The entire park is walkable in about 30 minutes.

This is a beautiful project of two Portuguese entrepreneurs who raised a doomed village from the ruins and turned it into a cozy relaxation area, adapting it for blind visitors.
 

The only tactile eco-park in Portugal is located near Leiria and is part of Batalha.
 

The project involved the few remaining owners of deteriorating houses, for whom such changes could only be beneficial after many years of hopelessness.
 

The natural feature here is that water accumulates among the rocks, forming miniature lakes. They give the park a unique charm and enhance the aromas of greenery, which are especially valuable for people who cannot see.
 

Location: R. da Pia do Urso 19, 2495-031, Portugal


 

Summary

The Monastery of Batalha is a triumphal symbol of Portuguese independence, the majestic monastery of the Battle. It is a striking example of a mixture of Gothic and Manueline styles. Since 1989, this monastery has been included in the UNESCO list as an outstanding cultural and historical site.

 

The architectural complex of the Batalha monastery is a striking example of Portuguese flamboyant Gothic and a beautiful example of the Manueline style, one of Portugal’s most advanced architectural solutions.

 

When coming here, it is worth spending time at nearby attractions to form the most complete opinion about the region. Most of them are not overcrowded with tourists. People come here for a short time to enjoy the monastery itself.


And please don't forget to check our tours to Batalha from Lisbon! We hope you will enjoy it!

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