Batalha Monastery
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The Battle Abbey
The Battle Abbey
One of the most popular side trips from Lisbon is Batalha. When most people say they went to Batalha they refer to the Battle Abbey of Santa Maria da Vitoria. This magnificent church with its convent, cloisters, and unfinished chapels is one of Portugal's important heritage sites. The Gothic and Manueline architecture is ornate and the edifice itself is huge. This structure was built to pay homage to Mary for the Portuguese victory over the Castilians at the Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385. It took over a century to build the church, convent, and the cloisters. Don't miss the interior of the narrow, tall church with its glass windows (some of the first in Europe), or the tombs of King John I and his wife, Phillipa, or that of their son, Prince Henry, the Navigator. Walk through the cloisters with its beautiful, ornate columns and the grand fountain. The gardens are serene and you can imagine the monks quietly praying there hundreds of years ago. Next to the church, there are stores and a restaurant or two where you can stop for lunch. There is also a nice hotel if you want to spend more time there. You can drive as we did ( while we stayed in near-by Fatima), or you can take a bus trip. Your hotel should be able to schedule the trip for you. (From Fatima it is about a forty minute drive). Batalha's architecture and history are too important to miss while in Portugal. You should allow at least two to three hours for this adventure, and don't forget your camera.
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