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In august 14th of 1385, 6500 Portuguese (and English) defeated 31000 Spanish (and French) in Aljubarrota. To celebrate the victory, king João I decided to build the most precious gem of Portuguese architecture - the monastery of Batalha.
Around the monastery a settlement grew from nothing, being today a lively commercial city, with a fading industry, with the monastery as the center of all the relevant tourist activity.
With several attractions in the area, most of them easily seen in a couple of hours, Batalha uses to be a passing by tourist attraction, with enough tourist offer but not too relevant.
It is commonly included in regional packages that combine some of the main top attractions in the region - Alcobaça, Nazaré, Tomar, Óbidos, Fátima and... Batalha, of course. However, the regions as plenty of other interesting points, so, if with time, a fer days in the area are not wasted time.
Started in 1388, the work took centuries and was never finished. But the results are superb. The first and most known architect, Afonso Domingues, planned a risky vault to the room of Capitulo, without any other support than the walls. Tradition says that he opposed the critics that said it was going to fall, by sitting under it, and there dying of starvation.
The whole place is an harmonious combination of several styles, excellent to understand the evolution of art in Portugal, during the medieval ages.
In 1402 the direction of the construction was assumed by the Flamand Huguet, who introduced several diferences in the architecture, started as portuguese gothic and finished as flamboyant gothic.
It's interesting to compare the two main doors. A lateral door is generally skipped by the visitors, that, after watching carefully the main door, and exiting to visit the unfinished chapel, consider that everything was seen. It's a bad idea.
This lateral door is important to compare with the main one, since it exemplifies perfectly the differences between flamboyant Gothic in Portugal and central Europe.
The lateral door was made by the Portuguese architect, Afonso Domingues, while the main door was Huguet's work.
Portugal has an exclusive style, a sort of Gothic variation with the adding of nautical elements, that is present in many buildings, including some of the top monuments.
Batalha shares with Jerónimos in Lisbon, and Christ convent in Tomar, the fair reputation of being.
Don't miss the fabulous cloister!
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This important natural park covers part of six municipalities of the districts of Leiria and Santarém, and presents many attractions, mainly in the geological plane.
Situated close to several top tourist destinations, the park complements the historical and urban wealth with an interesting set of visits and activities, which deserve to be highlighted:
- The many wonderful caves ( Alvados, Mira de Aire, Santo António are the most touristy, but Algar do Pena, discovered in 1985 and with the biggest room in Portugal - 125.000m3 - "joined the club")
- The salt mines in Rio Maior, more than 200 m above sea level
- Trekking routes along the best landscapes
- The springs of Olhos de Água and Arrimal
- The Natural Monument of Dinosaur Footprints
Lodging in the park is possible, but people use to stay in one of the touristy points nearby.
Detailed information (in Portuguese only) in PNSAC
The reconquest of the Portuguese territory to the Moors was assured by the help of Christian military groups, generally associated with religious orders. As a reward for his participation in the conquest of Santarém, Cistercian religious order received from King D. Afonso Henriques a vast territory extending from the sea to the Candeeiros mountain range, known as "Coutos de Cister". Couto's donation letter dates from April 8, 1153, but it was only in 1178 that the construction of the Abbey began under the guidance of Bernard of Clairvaux, later sanctified.
It is the first monument of Gothic architecture in Portugal, which earned it recognition as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983.
The Abbey was an important pole of colonization, functioning as a school of agriculture, and around it were born several settlements, based on the flourishing agricultural activity.
The Monastery remained the epicenter of all activity around, until 1833, when its position alongside the faction defeated in a civil war, led the monks to flee, a situation confirmed the following year with the official extinction of religious orders in Portugal.
The monastery survived, passed to state property, and regained its determining place in the local economy, now through tourism.
The passage of the years provoked some changes and additions, very visible to the visitor.
The most notable of these changes was the inclusion of two royal tombs, by D. Pedro I and Inês de Castro, perpetuating the Portuguese "Romeo and Juliet". Equally striking is the alteration of the facade, badly damaged in the mid-16th century, and whose final reconstruction only happened in the early seventeenth century, with the inclusion of baroque elements.
As a detail, the sacristy, added in the reign of King Manuel I, fell with the Lisbon Treaty in 1755, but its reconstruction preserved some Manueline details.
The entrance to the church is free, but the visit of the rest of the monument requires a ticket, with some alternatives of exemption or discount, which can be consulted in the official page.
Exchange rate fluctuations can have a considerable impact on your trip budget. If your home currency has appreciated in value in the recent term over the currency of your destination you are likely to find the place inexpensive.
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When is the best time of year to go to Batalha ? Check our average weather graph and table. If know about Batalha then why not join our community and tell us about the climate, or use the drop box at the bottom of the page to tell us about it?
Graphic showing average weather in Batalha in Celcius and Centimeters (Change to Farenheit and Inches)
|Month||Temp °C||Rainfall Cm||Temp °F||Rainfall Inches|
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