Batalha

Overview

Introduction

Located 76 mi/123 km north of Lisbon, it's worth a stop in the small town of Batalha, Portugal, to see the monastery of Santa Maria da Vitoria, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Established in the late 14th century in gratitude for Portugal's defeat of Castile at Aljubarrota in 1385, the monastery was a main architectural project of the Portuguese monarchy for 200 years. It is also one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the country. Highlights are the cloister, in particular the beautiful tracery on its arches, and the high-vaulted nave and chapterhouse. The chapel contains the tombs of Joao I, the founder of the monastery, and his famous son, Henry the Navigator.

If you're in the mood to tour another monastery and World Heritage site, you could make a stop in nearby Alcobaca to see Mosteiro de Santa Maria, founded in 1153. Its church is one of the largest in Portugal. Highlights there are the cloister and the tombs of Pedro I and his ill-fated mistress, Ines de Castro.

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