Located at the old Jesuit College, the New Cathedral occupies the Mannerist building which was built by the Society of Jesus at the upper town.The outline of the building has gone through many issues since 1547 which include advancements, retreats and alterations on the floor plan. Finally, in 1598, the foundation stone of the Baltazar Álvares (the architect to whom the outline is attributed) project was laid down. Construction works would drag on until 1640, the year in which the church dedicated to the Eleven Thousand Virgins was opened.
If you walk to Lago da Freira, you will be amazed by the magnificence of this Jesuit building in which the monumental façade undoubtedly stands out. This massive assembly rises among statues, windows and sinuous sections towards Heaven, a devotional statement made by the powerful Society of Jesus which used to make the rules there. On the inside, among the great austerity of white stone, there are small devotional chapels and then your eyes will be diverted to the top where you will see an amazing Baroque woodwork retable.
After Pombal expelled the Jesuits from Portugal, the College was abandoned and, in 1772, the Cathedral Chapel moved into the space because the old Romanesque building was becoming insufficient to perform the opulent liturgical rites. Thus, the building that had once served the University as a place of knowledge and culture made way for the seat of the Coimbra diocese.