Cinnaminson, New Jersey
July 25, 2004
Porto is currently under construction – the city is building subway system. City center is barely navigable by foot especially with all the construction near the Se (or cathedral). In addition half of the cathedral façade is under restoration. However, when you finally come up close to it you see a very Romanesque building with tall circular arches and very massive columns and small windows with floral stained glass. In front of the cathedral you can also see a statue of Vimara Peres - the 9th century hero who freed the city. You can see Se from a lot of places in the city and the best view I found was from a belvedere that I stumbled upon accidentally in the part of the city that used to be Jewery near Torre dos Clerigos. Jews were expelled from Portugal in 1496 by royal decree and a monastery was built on the land where they used to live.
Above the entrance of the cathedral inside on the small balcony an organ is trying not to block a beautiful rose window of the old bell-tower. The columns and balcony were obviously added later and are baroque. If not for the baroque additions to its façade, the Se looks like a medieval fortress.
Inside the altar is pure baroque, with four massive gilded columns on each side of the painting of Madonna. Above it there is a massive gilding part with angels and porticos. On the sides windows are painted with frescoes and two small baroque organs and choir stalls of dark wood with crown and letter "M" on each side. On each side of the altar there are baroque chapels. On the left Holy Sacrament chapel with silver altar is under restoration.
Entrance to the sacristy, treasury, chapter house and cloisters costs 2 euros. Cloister is gothic with blue azulejos on the walls. On the square in front of the Se, there is a Manueline pillory.
From journal Travels In Portugal - The Best Of Porto