Batalha Monastery commemorates the Portuguese victory over Castillans at the nearby Battle of Aljubarrota. It's Portugal's most important gothic building and one of the most significant in both the Iberian Peninsula and Europe. The building also gave birth to the Manueline style of architecture. The westport was one of the last parts to be finished and demonstrates the influence of the architect's early education in France. The tympanum, however, relies on Iberian tradition.
During the 50 years of construction, two different architects led the work. First there was the Portuguese Alfonso Domingues. He was followed by Huguet, who was almost certainly French. However the inner space is primarily the first architect's design and reflects the century old tradition of Gothic churches in Portugal. The only differences being the church's huge scale and the many vaults filling in space.
When the church was nearing its conclusion, King João I decided to have his family mausoleum built next to it. The Founder's Chapel designed by Huguet it's one of the very first flamboyant gothic buildings in the Iberian Peninsula, endowed with innovative and complex structural and decorative solutions.
The central star-shaped vault is a clear sign of the stay of the architect Huguet in the crown of Aragon and the kingdom of Navarre before reaching Batalha.
The Royal cloister was started by Afonso Domingues and it was finished by Huguet, who respected the first master's plans. During the reign of King Manuel I it was nobelated with exquisite carvings that filled the window base and counted among the earliest so called Manueline artworks.
The chapter house was started in the reign of João I but it was only finished in the time of his grandson Alfonso V. A legend tells that the vault fell twice with great detriment to its workers. A stained glass triptych depicting The Passion of Christ was installed in 1514.
Hand basin can be found near the refectory. We still use its original primitive water supply. Hand washing before meals was an important ritual, as well as serving the Fria's personal hygiene.
A new cloister was added to the monastery in the reign of Afonso V. It was built in a more sober style, that is shared by other royal and princely buildings at this period in Portugal.
Upstairs with the friar's and novice's cells, along with the library and archives, ground floor rooms included a ladder, a stock of the firewood, the olive oil store, the wine press, and workshops.
King Duarte, the son of the monasteries' founder, ordered his own funeral chapel to be built but died soon after. The building was continued by successors with many interruptions until was eventually abandoned in 1533 and left unfinished.
According to Mediterranean tradition, the roof is tear shaped. Take your own trip around the Royal cloister.
On the south side of the church, you can see flying buttresses, topped by gargoyles that throw rainwater from the highest roofs into the drainage system below.