Monastery of Batalha (1983)

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Portugal 1926. World Cultural Heritage. The Dominican Monastery of Batalha.

The Monastery of the Dominicans of Batalha was built to commemorate the victory of the Portuguese over the Castilians at the battle of Aljubarrota [webmaster's note: hence the name Batalha] in 1385. It was to be the Portuguese monarchy's main building project for the next two centuries. Here a highly original, national Gothic style evolved, profoundly influenced by Manueline art, as demonstrated by its masterpiece, the Royal Cloister. 
  • Portugal 1926.  The Dominican Monastery of Batalha, with a statue of King Joao I on the right. Overprint. 

The modest town of Batalha (c. 8000 inhabitants), located in the fertile Lena Valley around 75 km north of Lisbon, houses one of Portugal's greatest national monuments, the huge cloister and church Mosteiro de Santa Maria da Vitˇria, founded in 1388 by King Joao I.

The major part of the building was erected between 1388 and 1433 in French Late Gothic Style, but new and interesting details from the Manueline art were added in the 16th century. 

The two stained glass windows shown on the right are Christmas stamps issued 1983, and are from the Batalha Monastery.  They depict The Adoration of the Magi, and The Escape from Egypt.  

  • Portugal 1983.  Stained Glass Windows from Batalha. 

Portugal 1983. World Cultural Heritage. Stained Glass Windows from Batalha. Stamp #1 of two.

Portugal 1983. World Cultural Heritage. Stained Glass Windows from Batalha. Stamp #2 of two.

In the Chapel of the Founder (Capelo do Fundador) is a joint sarcophagus of King Joao I and his spouse, Queen Filippa de Lancaster.  In niches close by four of their six famous sons, one of whom was Henry the Navigator, are buried.

Portugal 1949. King Joao I. Portugal 1949. Queen Filipa de Lancaster. Portugal 1949. Henri the Navigator.

The church houses also the Portuguese Grave of the Unknown Soldier.  The ceiling of this room is world famous for its construction without supportive pillars, and the work was so dangerous to perform that it was done by prisoners already sentenced to death! 

Other World Heritage Sites in Portugal and Areas (on this website). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Portugal-section, for further information about the individual properties. 

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
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