Batalha, Monastery of

   A prime example of Portuguese Gothic architecture, Batalha Monastery was ordered built by King João I of Aviz in gratitude for his victory over the army of Castile at the battle of Aljubarrota (1385). Located at the town of Batalha, Leiria district, Batalha's style was influenced by earlier constructions including Alcobaça Monastery, which is not far away. Begun in 1387-88, it was mostly completed by the middle of the 15th century, but there were later works on it as well. The so-called "Imperfect Chapels" remain unfinished to this day. This monastery-church includes the Royal Tomb in the Chapel of the Founder, the double tomb of King João I and Queen Philippa of Lancaster, the parents of Prince Henry of Aviz (Prince Henry the Navigator). Batalha is formally known as the "Monastery of Santa Maria of Victory" in Portugal, but in Britain the building is usually referred to as the Battle Abbey. Batalha also contains Portugal's Tombs of the Unknown Soldiers, from World War I, where two soldiers—one killed in Europe and one killed in Africa—with unknown identities were buried. Members of the armed forces perpetually guard the site.
   See also Architecture.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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