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On the way from Leiria, turning a bend on the road, the sight that meets the astonished traveller's eyes is the monumental Monastery of Batalha, a masterpiece of Portuguese gothic architecture.

The Dominican abbey of Santa Maria da Vitória at Batalha (which means «battle») was built to thank the Virgin for the victory over the Spanish at the battle of Aljubarrota, in 1385, thus fulfilling a vow made by King John I.

It took about two centuries to complete the monument (begun in 1388 by the master builder Afonso Domingues, who was succeeded in 1402 by David Huguet), and several kings made additions to the pale limestone monastery. The Unfinished Chapels (Capelas Imperfeitas) are a testimony to the hardships of finhishing the monastery.

Prince Henry the Navigator is buried there, as well as King João I and his English-born wife, Philippa of Lancaster.

The chapterhouse reminds visitors of the monument's military essence, with guards keeping watch by the tombs of two unknown soldiers from the World War I.

The abbey dominates all the town, and although some disagree of the hotel unit set next to it, there are still interesting 18th-century houses to be seen, with porches and guilhotine windows, besides the Mother Church with a fine manueline portal.

At the village of São Jorge, a chapel was raised where the battle of Aljubarrota took place.

The Hotel Mestre Afonso Domingues, near the abbey, lodges a restaurant serving regional dishes.

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