central Portugal is probably best known for the
impressive and imposing Monastery which dominates the
town's centre. The town was founded by King Joao I
jointly with the Santa Maria da Vitoria na Batalha
in the 14th century.
which took over a century to construct, is one of the
best examples in
Portugal of late gothic
architecture with a plethora of buttresses, spires and
pinnacles. The monastery was damaged in the 1755
earthquake, but it was Napoleonic troops in the 19th
century who sacked and ruined the building.
only thanks to Ferdinand II who ordered the restoration
of the monastery. The restoration work lasted until the
early 20th century and in 1907 it was declared a
national monument and becoming a
UNESCO listed site in
Batalha would perhaps have sunk from the
history books without a trace. Unlike the neighbouring
Alcobaça, which has
thrived due to the edifice situated in the centre of
Batalha only survives due to the architecture
of the monastery.
square and the town's livelihood centres around the
monastery with visitors from around the world making
their way around the impressive building. Cafes and restaurants surround
the footings and provide ideal locations to view the
exterior of the massive religious feat of engineering.
from the town centre,
Batalha is much like any other
small town in
Portugal. There are apartment buildings,
mini-markets and cafes, though little else of interest
to day trippers.