Porto’s cathedral, one of the city’s highlights
Porto’s Cathedral, in the heart of the city, is one of the most iconic monuments of the city. It is also one of the oldest, therefore is worthy of a visit.
Porto’s cathedral, located in the heart of the city, should be a mandatory stop for all visiting the second major city of Portugal. Along with the Clergy Tower or the much more recent Casa da Música, the cathedral is a symbol of Porto.
Built in the 12th century under the Romanesque style, Porto’s cathedral witnessed a few important episodes of the Portuguese history such as the baptism of Prince Henry the Navigator or the marriage of King John I to Philippa of Lancaster in 1387. Porto’s cathedral also houses the thumb of Saint Pantaleon, the city’s Patron Saint.
Porto’s cathedral throughout the centuries
The many alterations Porto’s cathedral underwent throughout the centuries didn´t change the austere image of this monument that resembles a fortress.
Photo by hfmsantos
The rose window on the façade is the most impressive trace from Porto’s cathedral early years. Nowadays, the strongest architectural traces visible are from the 18th century when the monument was renewed under the Baroque style. Some of the most important alterations were carried out by the famed architect Nicolau Nasoni.
The magnificent altarpiece made up of silver and the loggia on the north front of the church are the most significant legacies from that period. As a curiosity, let me share with you that the altarpiece was saved by the French troops that invaded the city in 1809 thanks to a plaster wall built to hide it.
One of the most curious elements of Porto’s cathedral is the marble plaque with a magnetite backing hanged up behind the altar. It is a reminder of those who lost their lives to recover the control of the cathedral after the monument had fallen into the hands of a group of Spanish soldiers during the War of the Oranges.
Photo by hfmsantos
In spite of the undisputable beauty of the church, many described the Gothic cloisters as the main highlight of Porto’s cathedral thanks to their amazing blue and white tiles depicting the life of the Virgin Mary and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. These tiles, also dating from the 18th century, were created by Valentim de Almeida.
The chapterhouse, offering a coffered ceiling painted with allegories of moral values by Pachini, and its collection of sacred art rivals in magnificence with the cloisters, therefore it is also worthy of a visit.
There is also another reason for visiting Porto’s cathedral: the breathtaking view over the rooftops of the old city visitors may enjoy from the terrace.
Where is Porto’s Cathedral?
Main Photo Credits
Photo by Portuguese from Porto