The Sé de Oporto cathedral
Watch out for this apparently inoffensive column!
Presides majestically over Porto.
Overlooking Porto from Batalha, in the old quarter, this temple was constructed to become without doubt the most important of its kind in the city. Designated as a National Treasure monument, the Cathedral de la Sé appears majestically before the onlooker, like a solid stone fortress with battlements. It shouldn’t be forgotten that the church, whose initial construction began in the 12th century, displays a variety of architectural styles in the light of the multiple reconstructions it has undergone over the course of the intervening centuries. This therefore helps to explain the fact that although it is largely baroque, the cloister and chapel of St John the Evangelist are gothic, and that the body and facade of the church mirror the Roman style. Religious artefacts in precious metals also have their place here thanks to the Caso do Cabildo,(Chapter House), where the “cathedral’s treasure” will dazzle you. To get there, you go through a strange cloister whose walls are decorated with tiles depicting religious scenes. And to finish off with, an interesting curiosity: in the centre of the cathedral plaza you’ll see a column which, though inoffensive at first glance, was used in its day to hang the city’s criminal hoodlums and miscreants. Paradoxically, from this column you can enjoy one of the most special views over Porto, with its famous vineyards and the Douro river as its backdrop.