Discover Porto’s streets and squares with us! Today: Batalha Square.
Batalha Square is iconic square in Porto’s downtown. Got its name (Batalha means battle) from a legend that says that, back in the 10th century, this area was the battlefield of a fight between the Saracens of Almaçor and the locals, which were defeated. What is known for sure is that on its south-west area – where is now Cimo da Vila Street – was located one of the doors of the medieval protective wall, together with a chapel in honour of Our Lady of Batalha. The wall was demolished on the 18th century and nowadays this square has no remaining from that time.
Nowadays Batalha Square is a busy square surrounded by restaurants and hotels, attracting more tourists each year. Some points of interest there are: São João National Theatre, Santo Ildefonso church, the old Batalha Cinema and D. Pedro V statue. Let’s discover this spots? :)
São João National Theatre (TNSJ)
The first theatre built here date back to 1794 and was named São João Royal Theatre, designed by the Italian architect Vicente Mazzoneschi – but, unfortunately, the building was completed destroyed by a fire in 1908! A few years later a project for a new theatre took place, designed by the famous architect Marques da Silva (who also designed São Bento Railway Station) and inaugurated in 1920. It became a national property in 1992 and classified as a national monument in 2012! Check their page to get tickets to a play and discover this city’s gem :)
Santo Ildefonso church is another Porto treasure. It was rebuilt in 1730 and its facade is covered in tiles made by the artist Jorge Colaço – the same artist responsible for the tiles of São Bento Station!
The old Batalha Cinema was once one of the greatest movie theatres in town! Started in 1908 with the name High Life Salon and in 1947 was transformed into Batalha Cinema, by the architect Artur Andrade. It used to have two projection rooms – one for 950 people and other for 135 -, two coffees and a restaurant. It’s been closed for a while but there are some news saying that next year it will reopen with its original function. We are anxiously waiting for it!
Pedro V. statue is a work of Teixeira Lopes (father), done in 1866. It is located in the centre of the square – which was refurbished in 2001 by a team of famous Portuguese architects (including Siza, Souto de Moura, Alcino Soutinho and Fernando Távora, among others).