Monastery at Batalha

Date: 1388 (begun), 1533 (construction of unfinished mausoleum abandoned)
Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): Portugal
Description: The Dominican monastery of Santa Maria de Vitória near Batalha was begun in 1388 to thank Mary for her aid in a battle at which João I defeated the Castilians and then became king of Portugal. A local architect, Afonso Domingues, designed the tall, narrow church and its Royal Cloister to the north, surrounded by traditional monastery spaces that include a large chapter housee to the east. A second, northern cloister was added during the reign of King Afonso V (1438–81). To the south of the church is a chapel dedicated to the founder, built by another architect, Huguet, between 1426 and 1434. At the center, under an elaborate star-shaped vault, João I and his English queen are represented atop their tomb chest while their children are buried in arcosolium tombs along one wall. One of them was Henry "the Navigator," who supported Portuguese exploration of Africa. João I's successor was a different son, Duarte, who had Huguet begin construction of a second royal mausoleum at the east end of the church, larger and more opulent than the Founder's Chapel. The huge octagon with multiple chapels and lavish carvings was never finished, however, and the project was abandoned in 1533.
Relevant Textbook Chapter(s): 11
Repository and Online Resources: • Batalha is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Image Credits: Linda Safran, Navid Jamali, Wikimedia Commons

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