Sé Cathedral of Lisbon, History and Tour

Sé Cathedral of Lisbon, the oldest cathedral of Lisbon is definitely worth a visit because of its rich history and its majestic interiors.

History of Sé Cathedral of Lisbon.

Lisbon had been the seat of bishops since 4th century AD. The city was conquered by Moors and stayed under Arab control from 8th century to 12th century. The construction for Sé, Cathedral of Lisbon started in 1150 after the city was conquered from Moors. The Bishop of the city then, the Englishman Gilbert of Hastings, with the approval and support of king Afonso Henriques built this Catholic Church at the site of mosque. Over the centuries different Kings and different architects have contributed majorly to its construction and as a result it is a mix of several architectural styles. Though this church withstood the major earthquake of 1755 it is said that southern part of it had collapsed killing several worshippers who had assembled there to celebrate the feast of All Saints.

You can get more on history here.


First look at it and you get the impression it is robust, solid imposing monument and no doubt an iconic structure of Lisbon. The exterior looks more like a fort with two tall clock towers. Se Cathedral of Lisbon is a witness to the baptism, marriage and passing of Portugal’s nobility and elite for centuries. The day I was there, 22nd May 2015, on that day too a wedding ceremony was on. I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to get wedding pics, but I was wrong.

Se_Cathedral_of_Lisbon_3The cathedral was so crowded we couldn’t even get to the religious nave of it, leave alone a glimpse of bride and the groom. We walked through the sides maneuvering our way through the crowd. (Most probably it is here that my husband got pick pocketed.) The sights of artifacts displayed were good and some tourists like us were busy clicking pics. The cloisters are much more peaceful. There are partly excavated remains which reveal the foundations of mosque.

Se_Cathedral_of_Lisbon_4Se_Cathedral_of_Lisbon_5Sunlight filtered in through the rose window and other long stain glass windows flooding the interiors with light. The high ceiling was painted with golden color and looked as if it would shower gold any moment.

Sé Lisbon is situated on the main road from Alfama to Baixa and we approached it as we walked down the slope towards the region of Baixa. The nearest metro station is Rossio.


Se Cathedral of Lisbon is open to the public every day from 7:00 until the evening mass. The mass is held in Portuguese, at 19:00.

There is NO admission fee to the main cathedral but all visitors must be suitably dressed.

The cloisters are open every day from 10:00 to 17:00. There is an admission fee of €2.50/€1.00 (adult/child).

Se_Cathedral_of_Lisbon_6Thanks to Mersad for hosting Through My Lens.

Thanks to the hosting team of Our World Tuesday!


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