Church of Batalha Monastery

Each monastery should have a church, where religious come to pray. One of the most impressive monasteries in Portugal, loaded of symbolism, the Batalha Monastery, owns one of the finest Gothic churches in the country, which I invite you to discover. Batalha is a small Portuguese town named so in honour of the great victory of the noble Portuguese upon the Castilians, on a summer day, August 14, 1385. It is in memory of this battle, the battle of Aljubarrota, that the monastery was built. Work began almost immediately, in 1386, and lasted almost two centuries.

Gothic church

Gothic church

The church of Batalha Monastery is not, in my view, what is most impressive to see in this incredible monastery, World Heritage of Humanity. It’s a huge classic gothic church, as so many in Europe. You can find in this monastery the Royal Cloister and the chapel of the founder, which are characteristics of Portuguese Gothic, influenced by the Manueline style, typical of the beginning of the Portuguese Renaissance. But nevertheless, this church, impressive from the outside, with decorations so thin they look like lace, is unique in the Gothic churches of Portugal and is actually quite rare. Here we have one of the finest examples of late Gothic, a masterpiece started by architect Afonso Domingues, a specialist in Rayonnant.

The church commemorates the Portuguese victory over the Castilians

The church commemorates the Portuguese victory over the Castilians

Forest of columns

Forest of columns

Succeeding Afonso Domingues, architect Huguet (probably French or Catalan) assumes command of the site from 1402 to 1438. It is the work of a lifetime. Work that almost no longer exist today, with the ravages of Marshal Massena and the Napoleonic invasions, and after the expulsion of the Dominican friars of the monastery in 1834, following the extinction of the religious orders ordered by the Minister of Justice at the time, Joaquim Antonio de Aguiar. The intervention of the ‘artist King’ Fernando II, will be paramount for the rescue of the Portuguese architectural heritage: in 1840, he began a program of restoration of the Monastery of Batalha. Registration in 1983 of the monument as a world heritage by UNESCO promotes and protects, hopefully permanently, the Batalha monastery of the potential future degradation.

Church choir

Church choir

Stained glasses with the symbols of Portugal

Stained glasses with the symbols of Portugal

The monastery is of Dominican tradition, and it shows: the absence of a bell tower is one of the most obvious marks. But if you think about it, the Dominicans were secondary here. King Dom João I (John I of Portugal) wanted before all to say its glory and celebrate the fantastic victory that gave the final independence to Portugal, faced with what would become the Spain of today. The proportions of the Church contribute to glorify the sovereign and the great feat of arms: 80 meters long, 22 wide, and 32.5 meters high!

Altar of the church

Altar of the church

The ground stones are massive

The ground stones are massive

The stained glass windows of the Church are probably among the oldest in Portugal, an art introduced in Portugal by German artists. The counting of the church, typically Dominican, without statues, unadorned, highlights these windows, which, on a summer day, illuminate the interior of the church with a thousand colors. It will leave you an unforgettable memory 🙂

Pictures of the Church of Batalha

Tomb of Mateus Fernandes

Tomb of Mateus Fernandes

Nave of the Gothic church

Nave of the Gothic church

Chair

Chair

A collateral

A collateral

The proportions are extraordinary

The proportions are extraordinary

Clam shell-shaped

Clam shell-shaped

Column base

Column base

Rib vault

Rib vault

The chapel of the founder can be seen

The chapel of the founder can be seen

Each window is a work of art in its own right

Each window is a work of art in its own right

The colorful stained glass lights are found on the walls

The colorful stained glass lights are found on the walls

Nave of the monastery church

Nave of the monastery church

We must look up to admire the beauty of Gothic

We must look up to admire the beauty of Gothic

Tangle of stone and stained glass

Tangle of stone and stained glass



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