Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitória (or Monastery of Batalha) On 14 August 1385, close to the site of the monastery at Batalha, an event took place that was to prove decisive for the consolidation of the Portuguese nation. D. João, the Master of Avis and the future King of Portugal, defeated the Castilian army at the Battle of Aljubarrota. This victory brought an end to a dynastic crisis that had dragged on since 1383, when the King D. Fernando had died. His only daughter was married to the King of Castile, who laid claim to the throne of Portugal.
D. João dedicated the monastery to the Virgin Mary, whom he had called upon to beseech God to grant him victory. He gave the monastery to the Dominican Order, to which his confessor belonged. This was the beginning of a project whose construction work would last for almost two centuries and resulted in one of the most fascinating Gothic monuments in the Iberian Peninsula. Its great architectural value and historical significance led to the building being classified as World Heritage in 1983.
A visit to the monastery’s interior is, of course, mandatory, but, if possible, do not miss the great spectacle of the monastery’s night-time illumination, which greatly enhances its exuberant beauty and gives the carefully carved stonework a look of genuine magnificence that you will never forget.