Sé Velha

sights / Religious

Sé Velha information

Coimbra , Portugal
Largo da Sé Velha, Rua do Norte 4
+351 239 825 273
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Opening hours
10am-6pm Mon-Sat, 1-6pm Sun
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Coimbra's stunning 12th-century cathedral is one of Portugal's finest examples of Romanesque architecture. The main portal and facade are exceptionally striking. Its crenellated exterior and narrow, slit-like lower windows serve as reminders of the nation's embattled early days, when the Moors were still a threat. These buildings were designed to be useful as fortresses in times of trouble.

The church was financed by the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques. The high, barrel-vaulted nave preserves its main Romanesque features; side altars and well-preserved Gothic tombs of bishops are backed by bright Andalusian tiles. The high gilt retable is in ornate late-Gothic style and depicts the Assumption of Mary. Contrast this with the Renaissance Capela do Santíssimo Sacramento alongside. If you want to visit on a Sunday, note that Mass is at 11am.