Mosteiro da Batalha : Michelin's recommendations
Situated at the bottom of a green valley, Batalha (from battle), built before the Monastery of the Jeronimos, in the 15 and 16C is a masterpiece of Gothic and Manueline art. From the outside, you will see how the building evokes a bouquet of pink and golden flowers, covered in gables, pinnacles, buttresses, little steeples and small columns. The interior alone justifies your visit. The history of the Monastery is well-known. On the 14th August 1385, a battle took place on the Aljubarrota plain between two pretenders to the Portuguese throne - Juan I of Castille, son-in-law of the deceased King and João I, natural son of Pedro I, Grand Master of the Order of Avis, who had been crowned King only seven days before. A failure to secure victory would mean Portugal falling under Spanish rule. The opposition forces appeared much stronger, and João I promised to build a magnificent church in honour of the Virgin if she granted him victory. In successfully resisting the Spanish invaders, Portugal's independence was secured for two more centuries, and three years on, the King's builders set about constructing the monastery of St-Mary-of-the-Victory (which eventually became Batalha monastery). During the reign of King Afonso V (1438-1481), the Portuguese architect Fernão de Evora built the Afonso V cloister, and Mateus Fernandes the Old, one of the masters of Manueline art, later produced the partitions of the Royal cloister's arcades. However, João III (1521-1557) delayed construction of the Batalha monastery to concentrate on the Monastery of the Hieronymites in Lisbon and the chapels were left unfinished.
Opening hours :
- Apr-Sep: 9am-6pm; Oct-Mar: 9am-5pm (last admission 30min before closing) - closed certain Bank Hols