Coimbra Old Cathedral – Sé Velha de Coimbra

Founded during the reign of Afonso Henriques, Coimbra’s Old Cathedral represents, through its monumentality, the austere magnitude of the Romanesque architecture.

Founded during the reign of Afonso Henriques, Coimbra’s Old Cathedral represents, through its monumentality, the austere magnitude of the Romanesque architecture. It is seen as a treasure of the Portuguese Romanesque Style and is the only Portuguese cathedral built during the Reconquista era which has remained intact until today. It’s worth your while to cross its magnificent door, which reminds the entrance to a fortress, and discover its interior, where stone has created an impressive space characterized by an alternation of light and shadow which take us through massive columns and delicate capitals full of leaves and animal figures. You should also save some time to admire the magnificent retable, carved in woodwork, which decorates the centre of the main chapel and is a Renaissance work by Olivier de Gand and Jean d’Ypres. Next to the church, you can appreciate the silence of the Gothic cloister which invites you to quietness and delight.

Finally, you can walk around the building and stand in front of the Especiosa Door, a symbol of the Renaissance, scholar and cultural Coimbra. This remarkable work by João de Ruão was sculptured as a gigantic stone retable and displays delicately beautiful sculptured pieces. Next to the entrance, prophet Isaiah and Saint John the Baptist hold the magnificent locket with the image of Madonna and Child. This is considered one the most beautiful pieces of the Portuguese Renaissance.

Largo da Sé Velha Coimbra

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