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On August 14, 1385, King João I of Portugal and his army met the forces of King John of Castile on a small hill ringed by creeks near Aljubarrota. Despite being outnumbered, the Portuguese routed the Castilians, and King João decided to dedicate a magnificent new Cathedral to honor the Virgin Mary. Thus was created the great Monastery of Santa Maria of Batalha. The town that sprang up around the cathedral came to be known simply as Batalha.

The town is fairly small, and dominated by the magnificent Gothic abbey. There are some shops and restaurants, but there’s really only one thing to do in town: go visit the famous building. The Portuguese themselves are very proud of the Monastery: in July 2007 the Portuguese selected the Monastery of Batalha as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. The Portuguese Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located inside the Monastery.

If you’re arriving by car, note that Batalha has a bad reputation for thieves who break into tourist vehicles and steal their luggage and belongings: be extra safe when parking and hide your valuables.  


Other places nearby Batalha: Sintra, Alcobaça, Óbidos and Lisbon.

By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
25 Oct 2007

Things to do in Batalha

Monastery of Batalha

113482Commissioned in 1385 to celebrate the Portuguese victory over an overwhelming Castilian force at the battle of Aljubarrota, the impressive Monastery of Batalha is one of Portugal’s greatest Gothic ...
Historical Building
Batalha, Portugal
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