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BATALHA MONASTERY. A World Heritage Site (UNESCO 1983)
The Batalha Monastery is without doubt one of the most beautiful examples of Portuguese and European architecture.
It was erected, fulfilling a promise of King John I of Portugal, to thank the Virgin Mary for the Portuguese victory over the Castilians The battle took place nearby in Aljubarrota in 1385. This victory was crucial for the Portuguese independence from Castilla (Spain).
It is one of the best and original examples of Late Gothic architecture in Portugal. The Batalha Monastery took more than a century to build. Starting in 1386 and ending in 1517. The earthquake of 1755 caused some damage to the monastery. The Napoleonic troops of Marshal Massénacaused much greater damage to the monument . The French troops sacked and burned the complex in 1810 and 1811.
When the Dominicans abandoned the complex in 1834, the church and convent rapidly turned in ruins. In 1840, king Ferdinand II of Portugal, started a restoration program of the abandoned and ruined convent, saving this jewel of Gothic architecture.
The restoration would last till the early years of the 20th century. In 1907 granted the title of national monument in and later, in 1980, the Batalha Monastery became officially a museum.
Here, in the Batalha Monastery main´s chapel, is The Portuguese Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It holds the bodies of two soldiers of World War I — one from the battlefields of Flanders, and one from the African theatre — who were buried there on 6 April 1921.
In 1983 UNESCO recognized the Batalha Monastery as an heritage site.
Very near Fátima Sanctuary is a mandatory stop for visitors and pilgrims and nearby you can find the Alcobaça Monastery, also a Lisbon Best Tour top destination, specially for those who visit Fátima with us!