Visit to Porto Cathedral, Portugal

We made a quick visit to Porto Cathedral and its cloister. Luck evaded us in Porto and we missed seeing Church of Saint Francis which is famous for its golden interiors. We were late after the long drive to Porto from Coimbra.

Porto Cathedral

History, Architecture

Porto Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Porto. It was built by Bishop Hugh, a French nobleman who came to Porto before Portugal’s independence. He ably ruled the city from 1113 to 1136. The construction of Porto cathedral was started in 1110 and was completed in 13th century. Location of this cathedral is great as it is on a hill top and you get great views of the city. After the steep climb the views and cool breeze had a calming and soothing effect.  From architectural point of view the Porto Cathedral is a mix of Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic styles as modifications went on for the last 9 centuries. The façade shows the evidence of it being a Romanesque structure.

Porto Cathedral Facade


The façade is grey and plain but stepping into the spacious interiors, I found it lovely.A holy atmosphere prevailed. Very less lighting inside, like in other cathedrals, that made it difficult to capture the details. The interiors too were altered with changing architectural styles through the 9 centuries. The nave has the maximum decoration and gilding. The silver altar that holds a curious story: in 1809, when Napoleon’s Grande Armeé entered the city, a local resident painted the altar to hide the silver. The French troops never noticed that and left the silver untouched. The Gothic rose window of the façade is one of the few well preserved original elements of the cathedral.

Porto Cathedral 1Rose Window Porto Cathedral

Cloisters of Porto Cathedral

The tour inside will take 15 to 20 minutes. After that we visited the cloisters. A cloister (enclosure) is a covered walk, open gallery, running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle. The attachment of a cloister to a cathedral or church, indicates that it is (or once was) part of a monastic foundation. Cloisters effectively separates the world of the monks from that of the serfs and workmen, whose lives and works went on outside. The cloisters here show a clear gothic architectural style. Walls are covered with blue-white tiles till half way. They depict stories from Bible. We are permitted to walk around the top of the cloisters.

Roof Top Cloister Porto cathedral

Cloister Porto Cathedral 2

Tourists are allowed to see the private official rooms that are used by the clergy and the treasure house. These are so richly decorated, one is forced to pause and admire. We toured upstairs above the cloisters into what looked like a conference room. The blue-and-white “Azulejos” tiles fixed to the lower part of the wall depict scenes from the Bible. They are similar to the ones used to decorate the cloisters and the upper ramparts of the cloisters.


Admission to the cathedral is free. The cloisters have €3 as entrance fee.

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36 Responses

  1. eileen says:

    Hello, I love these old cathedral. They are so beautiful, inside and out. The stained glass is just stunning. Wonderful series of photos. Enjoy your day!

  2. felicia says:

    beautiful cathedral. love the stain glass

  3. Very beautiful Cathedral and nice narration, photos!
    Have a Happy Day, Indrani!
    Peace 🙂

  4. TexWisGirl says:

    it is really beautiful – both inside and out.

  5. Yogi says:

    What a beautiful building and so old. I love the photos of the altar and the stained glass and thank you for explaining what we are viewing.

  6. DeniseinVA says:

    It is a spectacular cathedral and your photos are truly marvelous!

  7. Alexander says:

    Beautiful cathedral. Love the photos in the post.

    Have a good weekend!


  8. Awesome Cathedral. Beautiful photos.

  9. So rich in history and very ornate looking.

  10. I love such architectural wonders! Thanks for sharing 😊

  11. Gorgeous structure! Particularly love the last few pictures

  12. Great place and stunning pics.

  13. magiceye says:

    Lovely captures of a beautiful cathedral!

  14. Lovely description of magnificent architecture (especially interior) with wonderful clicks. Great post, Indrani 🙂

  15. Bhavani says:

    Such a beautiful cathedral!!!

  16. wow nice it is very nice country !

  17. Jeevan says:

    Marvelous cathedral! Glad they allowed visiting atop to catch on the views around. Beautiful captures

  18. Arun says:

    Loved the pics of the stained glass!
    Wonderful post!

  19. Niranjan says:

    Beautiful art work!

  20. Beautiful place 🙂

  21. Priyanka says:

    Love the picture of the glass stained windows! Wonderful photo-story.

  22. A beautiful Post, Indrani.. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Sindhoooo says:

    Stunned looking at the photographs of the awesome ancient creations! Good to read the details…

  24. The cathedrals in Europe are simply so opulent. We won’t be able to build them this way in this era in my opinion.

    Worth a Thousand Words

  25. Janice says:

    It looks like a very interesting and beautiful cathedral.

  26. Beautiful pictures…the cathedral looks marvelous 🙂

  27. Beautiful pics, as always! Lovely architecture it has.

  28. Great write-up, Indrani! Loved reading the details…thanks for taking us through delightful virtual trips with you 🙂

  29. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder says:

    The stained glass window…that’s wonderful!

  30. Love that stained glass..Thanks for sharing

  31. Jyothi D'mello says:

    What a beauty… It often amazes me how intricate historic architectures are. Great article once again Indrani x

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