Unfinished chapels Batalha Monastery, Batalha, Portugal

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As Capelas Imperfeitas (The Unfinished Chapels) remain as a testimony of the fact that the monastery was never actually finished. They form a separate octagonal structure tacked on the choir of the church (via a retrochoir) and only accessible from the outside. It was commissioned in 1437 by King Duarte I as a second royal mausoleum for himself and his descendants. But he and his queen Leonor of Aragon are the only ones buried here. The original design, begun by Huguet, was altered by successive architects, especially Mateus Fernandes (who is buried inside the church). The octagonal rotunda has seven radiating hexagonal chapels. In the corners of the chapels stand the massive unfinished buttresses, that were intended to support the vault. These pillars, designed by Diogo Boitac, are decorated with Manueline motives carved in stone.

The portal rises to a monumental fifteen metres. It was originally built in Gothic style, but was transformed beyond recognition by Mateus Fernandes into a masterpiece of Manueline style (completed in 1509). It is completely decorated into a lacework of sumptuous and stylized Manueline motives : armillary, spheres, winged angels, ropes, circles, tree stumps, clover-shaped arches and florid projections. This homage of King Manuel I to his predecessor King D. Duarte mentions his motto Leauté faray tam yaserei (I will always be loyal). This motto is then repeated more than two hundred times in the arches, vaults and pillars of the chapels. Portal of the Unfinished Chapels.

The Renaissance loggia, added at about 1533, was probably meant for musicians. It is ascribed to the architect João de Castilho.

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Comments (31)

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Lucien Kivit on August 3, 2012

Fai, thank you for your nice comment and like, greetings Lucien

BernardJ47 on September 11, 2012

L13+F2. Piękny kadr. Interesująca architektura. Dziękuję za wizytę i miłe komentarze do zdjęć. Pozdrowienia z Polski. Bernard

Lucien Kivit on September 14, 2012

Bernard, thank you for your nice comment, YS and like, greetings Lucien

Valentine Verchenko on October 21, 2012

Batalha Monastery is wonderful.


Friendly greetings. Valentine

Lucien Kivit on October 21, 2012

Valentine , thank you for your nice comment, like and YS, greetings Lucien

Ana María Ossorio Ló… on November 21, 2012

So famous this Monastery Lucien. It´s a pleasure can see it- Excellent capture--like 15--AnaM (PD you know Lucien that every day we can learn one thing more! fourtunatly! )

Lucien Kivit on November 21, 2012

AnaM , thank you for your nice comment, like and nice words, greetings Lucien

sandart on March 22, 2013

Amazing place, vert nice capture! LIKE

Greetings, Alexander

Lucien Kivit on March 24, 2013

Alexander , thank you for your nice comment and like, greetings Lucien

elakramine on February 2

YSL: 4/17 , Asolutely nice image !!!

Greetings, Elakramine

Lucien Kivit on February 5

Elakramine , thank you for your nice comment, like and YS, greetings Lucien

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Lucien Kivit
Rijkevorsel, België

Photo details

  • Uploaded on December 6, 2011
  • Attribution-No Derivative Works
    by Lucien Kivit
    • Camera: Canon PowerShot A590 IS
    • Taken on 2011/09/12 16:04:14
    • Exposure: 0.001s (1/1000)
    • Focal Length: 23.20mm
    • F/Stop: f/5.500
    • ISO Speed: ISO125
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash