Se Cathedral of Porto, An Emblem of Portugal’s Rich History
The old city of Porto is Portugal’s second biggest city and is home to many historical sites, including the famous Se Cathedral of Porto. This was the place where the English Princess Philippa of Lancaster and King John I married and where Prince Henry the Navigator was baptized.
Located near the center of the historical city of Porto, Se Cathedral speaks of Portugal’s rich culture and history. This fortress-like structure was originally a Romanesque church, but was rebuilt and redesigned some 600 years after it was built.
Nicolau Nasoni, the world-renowned Italian architect, altered the lateral façade of this historic church by adding a Baroque-style loggia. Despite the alterations done on the church, its overall façade remained Romanesque, particularly its interior. The cathedral is built with thick walls, semi-circular and pointed arches, and decorative arcading that all symbolize strength and massive solidity. Its majestic structure and magnanimity is what makes it so attractive to tourists from different parts of the world. The Gothic rose windows are also among the few remaining parts of the cathedral’s original façade.
The origin of this twin-towered cathedral dates from the 12th and 13th centuries, making it one of the oldest churches and important Romanesque structures in Portugal. Its stunning view from the outside, particularly the terraces on its northern and western parts as well as the rooftops, makes it so popular among photographers. Se Catedral of Porto has austere Gothic appearance on the outside, however the magnificent structure and opulent displays inside keeps surprising its visitors.
Upon entering the cathedral, century-old images that include that of Nossa Senhora de Vandoma, a statue of Porto’s patron saint, and an impressive collection of 14th and 18th centuries’ religious sculptures will fascinate visitors. Inside the cathedral, you will also get a glimpse of the extraordinary silver altarpiece built by a group of Portuguese artists during the 17th century. Tourists also wouldn’t miss the outstanding Gothic cloisters that are covered and decorated with 18th century white and blue ceramic tiles, the dazzling chapterhouse that is home to a collection of sacred arts, and the Sao Vicente Chapel.
Se Catedral in Porto indeed is one of the structures in the country that has withstood through the test of time. Being one of the most important and recognizable structures not just in Porto but in Portugal as well, it has become the city’s main focal point. It is just a walking distance from the Sao Bento Station, the city’s central station, making it almost impossible for tourists to miss this historical site.