On our first evening in Porto we looked out the window to see the illuminated Cathedral atop a nearby hill, with the darkening outline of the city spread out around it and below.
The next day we walked up the hill to visit the Cathedral, Se do Porto, one of the oldest and most important buildings in the city. Construction started in 1110 but the building has been much altered over the years. Once Romanesque in style, Gothic additions were later added, and a Baroque porch to finish it off. The Cathedral is well known as the site for the 1387 marriage of the Portuguese King John I to the English princess, Philippa of Lancaster, and the site of the baptism of their third son, Henry, the Navigator. The cathedral was dark and a challenge to our attempts at photography, with the exception of the ceiling (below).
Entrance to the Cathedral was free. Next to the cathedral sat the cloisters with an entry fee of several euro and we decided to continue the tour. We found ourselves most interested in the architectural details and the interplay of light.
When we learned a little about the history of the Cathedral, we could appreciate the significance it has in Porto’s history. The light illuminating the Cathedral every night expresses the feeling that this is not only Porto’s treasure but is also Porto’s heart.