UNESCO has included the historic monastery of Batalha on the list of World Heritage sites.
King João I ordered the monastery to be built in gratitude to the Virgin Mary for the Portuguese victory at the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385. The monastery illustrates the history of Portugal and its rich artistic heritage.
On a visit to the monastery, you’ll start at the Founder’s Chapel where King João is buried with his wife, Queen Philippa of Lancaster. Their son Prince Henry the Navigator is also buried here in the family tomb. In the Royal Cloisters, you’ll see arches carved with leaves, flowers, fruit and many symbols used by King Manuel I, including the cross of Christ and the armillary spheres in the typical Manueline style.
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 three days to prove that it would not fall down.
Behind the church, you’ll see the unusual ‘Incomplete Chapels’ extending high above you. Here, there is another example of the Manueline style; a doorway built in a succession of arches and slender columns that are meticulously decorated.