Old Cathedral of Coimbra, Portugal

We stumbled upon the Old Cathedral of Coimbra by chance. Having finished the tour of Library we started our hunt for a good restaurant to have lunch and maneuvering through the sloping lanes we landed right in front of this Old Cathedral of Coimbra. Surrounding it were several restaurants; though we were hungry we chose to visit the cathedral first as we were not aware of its timings. And it was a very good experience!

Old Cathedral of Coimbra, History

Old Cathedral of Coimbra was built in 1139 by King Afonso Henriques. Almost 10 centuries old, it is ancient now! The cloisters were added in 1218. Construction was on for some years. In 16th century several additions like the chapels, walls and pillars of the nave covered with tiles were made. The monumental Porta Especiosa was built in the north side of the façade. Though the later additions were Gothic and Renaissance style the basic style of the cathedral was Romanseque. Master Robert, a French architect who was directing the building of Lisbon Cathedral at that time, visited Coimbra regularly and saw through this construction too.

Old Cathedral of Coimbra


The façade looked very simple with arches over the door and over its window. It had a golden sandstone hue. The pillars at the entrance had some designs of Moorish architecture carved on them. It is believed to be an unbreakable façade. Some of the blocks have mason’s mark and Arabic writing on them. The northern and western façade of cathedral of Coimbra are equally interesting. It is a different world inside the cathedral; dark, calm and peaceful! I love visiting cathedrals for this.


The interior is lit by sunlight filtering in through the series of stain glass windows. Not very bright and I had to struggle with my camera settings. I was grateful they allowed photography. The main altarpiece of the Old Cathedral of Coimbra is a sight to behold! It is one of the most prestigious creations of its time. This imposing Portuguese-Flemish altarpiece (13m high) exhibits the color scheme of the 16th century. There is abundant use of gold and blue, typical of flamboyant Gothic. It has been totally or partially coated four times over the five hundred years of its existence.

Altar at Cathedral of CoimbraInteriors Cathedral of Coimbra

We strolled through the cloister. This is the oldest Gothic cloister of Portugal. The lawns are maintained so well, and the patch of green looked soothing. The tomb here is of Coimbra’s first governor and dates back to 1064. Each of the Gothic pointed arches that face the courtyard encompass two twin round arches in Romanesque style.

Cloister cathedral of Coimbra

Another eye catching object here is a huge shell holding holy water. It is a 19th century gift from Sri Lanka. The three altars too are worth a second look. The walls are covered with colorful tiles, all with beautiful designs. They date back to 16th century and are believed to be from Spain.

Huge Shell with Holy Water

Tickets and Timing

Entrance and visit to Church and cloister id 2 Euros. It is open Monday to Saturday 10.00 to 18.00 hrs and on Sundays after mass.


Our World Tuesday

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33 Responses

  1. The inside is way more ornate than the exterior. What a surprise!

  2. sylviakirk says:

    A beautiful place and a magnificent cathedral!! And a great post for the day as always!! Thanks for sharing the beauty and the history, Indrani!! I hope you have a great new week!!

  3. Al says:

    What a great building, and so old!

  4. Beautiful cathedral and really nice photos w/ details.
    Well done, Indrani!!
    Have a Beautiful Day!
    Peace 🙂

  5. The details are incredible. It’s what makes these European cathedrals incredible.

  6. Sims says:

    You have lovely memories from Portugal 🙂

  7. awesome interiors… all these European cathedrals look so amazing!

  8. Nice piece of information Indrani..

  9. Arun says:

    Exteriors looked like a simple cathedral but the interiors are beautiful.

  10. Ami says:

    The word Flamboyant is so apt…bright and vibrant colors. Amazing pics

  11. Portugal is high on my list! The church is beautiful!
    Saree giveaway on my blog

  12. Amazing pics, Great informative post.

  13. Nevin says:

    Nice to hear about this cathedral! Good clicks

  14. ladyfi says:

    Oh my – so gorgeous!

  15. Jyothi D'mello says:

    The altar is an intricate piece of art work. Beautiful cathedral and that Holy water font is amazing. Loved this post very much Indrani x

  16. Magnificent interiors beautifully captured, Indrani 🙂

  17. Such an amazing building 🙂 Great interiors!

  18. Fantastic picture 😻👍

  19. Arun says:

    Main altarpiece looks stunning. Brilliantly captured!

  20. Niranjan says:

    Lovely intricate works and archways. Nice shots, Indrani.

  21. Wool Gatherer says:

    I’m enjoying reading about your Portugal experiences, Indrani. It all looks so interesting.

  22. Jeevan says:

    Truly amazing and grand differences from inside out! The cathedral stands pretty strong that too on the slope… mighty one

  23. eileen says:

    Hello, beautiful cathedral. The interior is gorgeous! Lovely series of images.
    Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

  24. Ela says:

    What a beautiful cathedral !!
    Lovely place to visit !!

  25. dNambiar says:

    The doorway arch looks great. The insides seem to have a lot of details.
    And there’s nothing quite like light filtering into a place to worship, through those stained glass windows.

  26. You have been all over Portugal! I am enjoying all these great place thru your lens.

  27. Bhavani says:

    What a beautiful place!!

  28. Yogi saraswat says:

    Beautiful and colorful interior of an ancient structure . Thnx for sharing it with us Indrani ji .

  29. Synnöve says:

    Fabulous photos of this wonderful Cathedral. Amazing !
    Best regards, Synnöve

  30. Pratikshya says:

    The view of the interiors is so breathtaking… amazing work and craftsmanship.. want to visit this place…

  31. Sri Kri says:

    Stupendous Interiors and excellent photos.Need to plan here one day.

    Sriram & Krithiga

  32. Nice Photographs of Cathedral,, An interesting Post!

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