November 24, 2015

0340, 2068 PORTUGAL (Leiria) - Monastery of Batalha (UNESCO WHS)

0340 Monastery of Batalha - facade and main entrance

Posted on 23.09.2012, 24.11.2015
Founded by King João I to celebrate his victory in the Battle of Aljubarrota (August 14, 1385), that put an end to the attempt of John I of Castile to annex Portugal, Batalha is now a town with 7,500 inhabitants, located 118km north of Lisbon. Mosteiro Santa Maria da Vitória (known as the Monastery of Batalha - Monastery of the Battle) is a Dominican convent also founded by João I, but which was completed on circa 1517, its construction spanning on the reign of seven kings and combining the efforts of fifteen architects (of whom only eight actually worked). 

2068 Monastery of Batalha - The portal
of Capelas Imperfeitas

It is one of the best and original examples of Late Gothic architecture in Portugal, with strong elements of English Perpendicular, intermingled with the Manueline style. The ornate convent has been put up in limestone from Porto de Mós, that has turned yellow ochre in the course of time. As with all Dominican churches, this church has no bell tower. It is vast and narrow, and its interior gives a sober and bare impression by its complete lack of ornaments and statues in the nave. The western façade, facing the square with the equestrian statue of general Nuno Álvares Pereira, is divided in three by buttressess and pilasters.

Capelo do Fundador (The Founder's Chapel) contains the tombs of king João I, his wife and their four sons, and also copies of the originals tombs of King Afonso V, John II and his son, Dom Afonso), the side wall of an aisle and the projecting portal. On the east side is Sala do Capitulo (The Chapter House), with the tombs of two unknown soldiers killed in WWI, which continues into Claustro de D. Afonso V (the cloister of King Afonso V).

On the right side are Capelas Imperfeitas (The Unfinished Chapels), a testimony of the fact that the monastery was never actually finished. They form a separate octagonal structure, only accessible from the outside. It was commissioned in 1437 by King Edward of Portugal as a second royal mausoleum for himself and his descendants, but he and his queen are the only ones buried here. The portal rises to a monumental 15m, and is completely decorated into a lacework of sumptuous and stylized Manueline motives.

About the stamps
On the postcard 0340

To celebrate the inclusion, in 2011, of Fado in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Correios de Portugal issued on October 10, 2011, a series of stamps which pays homage to some of the 20th Century’s great Masters of Fado:

Alfredo Marceneiro (0.32 EUR)
Carlos Ramos (0.47 EUR)
Hermínia Silva (0.57 EUR)
Maria Teresa de Noronha (0.68 EUR) - it’s on this postcard
Amália Rodrigues (0.80 EUR)
Carlos do Carmo (1.00 EUR)

Fado (destiny, fate) is a music genre which can be traced to the 1820s in Portugal, but certainly with much earlier origins. In popular belief, fado is characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, but in reality it is simply a form of song which can be about anything, but must follow a certain structure. Personally, I would venture to say that Fado is more than music, is the Portuguese soul put on notes.

On the postcard 2068
The stamp is part of a set of three issued in 2015 as part of the series Extreme Sports, about which I wrote here.

This is a post for Sunday Stamps #89, run by Viridian from Viridian’s Postcard Blog. The theme of this week is music, literature, and books. Click on the button to visit Viridian’s blog and all the other participants.

Batalha Monastery - Wikipedia
Monastery of Batalha - UNESCO official site
Mosteiro de Santa Maria da Vitoria - Batalha - Manor Houses of Portugal
Fado 2011 stamps series - World stamps and postmarks
Fado, urban popular song of Portugal - UNESCO official site

Sender 0340: Paulo Baptista (direct swap)
sent from Lisbon (Lisbon / Portugal), on 28.01.2012
Sender 2068: Mircea Ostoia
Sent from Batalha (Leiria / Portugal), on 18.10.2015 


  1. Beautiful architecture and I had not heard of 'Fado' before, very nice stamp and lovely music, I just listened to some on youtube.

  2. Beautiful card and stamp. Fado is new to me too.

  3. Love the fado stamp! I have heard about it before, but didnt really know what was it all about...thanks for sharing!

  4. That's a kind of music I never heard of before.

  5. Thank you for the link to the Intangible cultural Heritage site. Buildings and churches are one thing - but there is more to culture. thank you for showing us the card and stamp too.

  6. I'm glad that you heard about fado from me, but also I'm surprised that it is so little known. In Romania is well known. In my childhood was frequently broadcast on television Amália Rodrigues (in the context that there was a single television station, which emitted only a few hours a day), and in recent years Misia held several concerts in Romania, all of them sold out, the last of them at the National Opera in Bucharest.