Mosteiro Santa Maria da Vitória (“St. Mary of the Victory”), more commonly known as the Batalha Monastery, is a Dominican convent in Batalha, in the District of Leiria, Portugal. It was erected in commemoration of the 1385 Battle of Aljubarrota, and would serve as the burial church of the 15th-Century Aviz dynasty of Portuguese royals. It is one of the best and original examples of Late Gothic architecture in Portugal, intermingled with the Manueline style.The convent was built to thank the Virgin Mary for the Portuguese victory over the Castilians in the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385, fulfilling a promise of King John I of Portugal.
The profusely ornate convent has been put up in limestone from Porto de Mós, that has turned yellow ochre in the course of time. It has an original Portuguese style, a mixture of rayonnant and flamboyant Gothic architecture combined with strong elements of English Perpendicular, that finds few parallels in Europe. As with all Dominican churches, this church has no bell tower.The western facade, facing the large square with the equestrian statue of general Nuno Álvares Pereira, is divided in three by buttressess and huge pilasters : the Founder’s Chapel (Capelo do Fundador), the side wall of an aisle and the projecting portal. On the right side of this façade are the Imperfect Chapels (Capelas Imperfeitas), a separate octagonal structure added to the complex.Off the east side, next to the church choir is the chapterhouse (Sala do Capitulo). The closier of King João I borders on the church and this chapterhouse. The structure continues into the cloister of King Afonso V . On the northern side of the complex lies the Tomb of the Unknown Warriors.The portal shows in the archivolt a profusion of 78 statues, divided over six rows, of Old Testament Kings, angels, prophets and saints, each under a baldachin. The splays on both sides display (inferior copies of) statues of the apostles, with one standing on a chained devil. The tympanum shows us Christ enthroned, sitting under a baldachin and flanked by the Four Evangelists, each with his own attribute.The church is vast and narrow (22m) in proportion to its height (32.4 m). The nave was raised to its present height by the second architect Huguet, altering the proportions of the church and giving it its present aspect. Its interior gives a sober and bare impression by its complete lack of ornaments and statues in the nave. The ribbed vaults, supported by compound piers, are closed by ornamented keystones. Light enters the church through ten stained-glass windows of the clerestory and the tall, traceried windows in the side walls and the transept and through the two rows of lanciform windows in the choir. The choir extends into two-bay transepts and consists of five apsidal chapels, with the central one projecting.
Batalha probably had the first workshop for stained-glass windows in Portugal. The art was introduced in Portugal by German artists from the regions of Franconia and Nuremberg. The oldest windows date back to the end of the 1430s. But the Manueline, ogival stained-glass windows in the choir date from the 1520s and 1530s and were produced by Portuguese masters, among them Francisco Henriques. They represent scenes from the lives of Christ and Mary: the Visitation, the Epiphany, the Flight to Egypt and the Resurrection of Christ.