Igreja and Torre dos Clerigos

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by SaraP on December 12, 2004

I suspect visitors fall into two categories - the type who like to get as high as possible to get their bearings or (like me) prefer to work it out at ground level so as to appreciate the view more once I finally get up there and know what I am looking at.

This tower will be good for either, though it lacks any signposts at the top to assist in what you’re looking at (or looking for). The entrance is slightly tricky to find and you have to approach either through the church itself (of which more below) or by going up the steps to the tower and, turning to the left, following the wall to the (unsigned) entrance door. Pay your 1.50€ fee and brace yourself for the 225 steps – good news is that there are stopping points as you climb (and you can credibly claim to be taking a photo through the slits in the walls); bad news is that the same set of steps take you up as well as down and it’s a narrow squeeze to pass at some points, so it may be worthwhile letting people finish if you can hear them approaching to pass.

You can see for yourself the views, which I snapped. Here’s some history... The church was built between 1731 and 1749, the tower was added between 1754 and 1763 (and was at the time the tallest tower in Portugal – 6 floors and 76m tall). The clerigos were the local clergymen, both fully blown and those who preparing for priesthood. Both the church and tower are the work of a Tuscan painter/architect called Nicola Nasoni – apparently he did all of the works for free and was declared a lay brother of the priesthood after 30 years in recognition of his otherwise unrecognised work.

The church itself is a pleasant place to rest up after the exertions of your climb, but frankly, no great shakes – nice carved organ, jacaranda choir-stalls, and some attractive marble.

The tower and church are open from 10 to noon (closing bang on, so you’re warned not to dally up at the top) and then from 3 to 5.30pm.

Torre Dos Clerigos
Porto, Portugal


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