Travel Guide Europe Portugal Batalha

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Introduction

In august 14th of 1385, 6500 Portuguese (and English) defeated 31,000 Spanish (and French) in Aljubarrota. To celebrate the victory, king Joao I decided to build the most precious gem of Portuguese architecture - the monastery of Batalha. Started in 1388, the work took centuries and was never finished. But the results are superb. The first and most known architect, Afonso Domingues, planned a risky vault to the room of Capitulo, without any other support than the walls. Tradition says that he opposed the critics that said it was going to fall, by sitting under it, and there diing of starvation. The whole place is an harmonious combination of several styles, excellent to understand the evolution of art in Portugal, during the medieval ages. Now, the old battle fields are full of live, around a small city that grew around the monastery, even before tourist turn it to the actual lively place.

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Neighbourhoods

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Sights and Activities

90% of the visitors have the Monastery in mind. The whole place is an harmonious combination of several styles, excellent to understand the evolution of art in Portugal, during the medieval ages. In 1402 the direction of the construction was assumed by the Flamand Huguet, who introduced several diferences in the architecture, started as Portuguese Gothic and finished as flamboyant Gothic. A lateral door is generally skipped by the visitors, that, after watching carefully the main door, and exiting to visit the unfinished chapel, consider that everything was seen. It's a bad idea. This lateral door is important to compare with the main one, since it exemplifies perfectly the differences between flamboyant Gothic in Portugal and central Europe. The lateral door was made by the Portuguese architect, Afonso Domingues, while the main door was Huguet's work. Even a non specialist can see the great diferences in sizes and proportions.

Portugal has an exclusive style, a sort of Gothic variation with the adding of nautical elements, that is present in many buildings, including some of the top monuments. As it was developed under king Manuel reign it got the name of "Manuelino". Batalha shares with Jerónimos in Lisbon, and Christ convent in Tomar, the fair reputation of being one of the best.

Batalha is one of the many touristy attractions spread in a few square kilometres. Ten kilometers from Batalha it's the district's capital - Leiria - and even closer Porto de Mós with its beautiful castle. Fátima is a top destination 17 kilometres far, so is, a little more inland, Tomar.

Towards the coast several beaches, most of them wild, but also the popular São Pedro de Moel, and the better known Nazaré. Alcobaça has an older and also very important monastery, and, more distant to the south, Óbidos is another top destination generally combined with Batalha in a day trip from Lisbon.

If you have time, many other minor attractions are available minutes away from Batalha.

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Events and Festivals

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Weather

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Getting There

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Getting Around

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Eat

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Drink

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Sleep

Upscale

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Booking.com

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Work

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Learn

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Keep Connected

Internet

Wifi is common in many places in Portugal, including hotels, restaurants and coffee bars. Free wifi along the Algarve coast is available in many places. Internet cafés can still be found in most larger cities and tourist areas though.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

Portugal's international telephone code is 351. The general emergency number is 112.

There are three mobile telephone operators in Portugal: TMN, NOS and Vodafone.

Each provider offers a variety of prepaid (Pré-Pagos) and contract (pós-pagos) SIM cards, both of which are available to foreigners. It generally means much lower rates for calls and especially internet. Be sure to switch off data roaming if you don't buy a local SIM card, as prices for internet are very high.

Post

CTT is the national postal service of Portugal. It has relatively fast and reliable services and it takes several days to over a week for your post to arrive within other European countries, more so if you send post to North America or Australia. Post offices (correios) have varying opening hours, but in general post offices are open on weekdays from 08:30am-6:00pm and on Saturday mornings until 12:30. More information about offices, costs and other details can be found at the CTT website. It's a relatively efficient but also relatively slow postal service. If you want to send packages overseas, you'd better use international companies like FedEx, DHL, TNT or UPS, as they are competitively priced, fast and very reliable.

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Accommodation in Batalha

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This is version 14. Last edited at 3:52 on Aug 2, 17 by sleepBot. 2 articles link to this page.

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