Lisbon Cathedral, Lisbon

The Lisbon Cathedral or simply Sé de Lisboa (officially the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Mary Major or simply Sé de Lisboa ) is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in the Alfama district, just a few blocks away from the Avenue Infante Dom Henrique on the banks of the Tejo River in Lisbon. The cathedral has a rich history connected to the Catholic church and currently serves as one of many tourist attractions located throughout the city.

The Lisbon Cathedral was erected under the guidance of Gilbert of Hastings, an English Crusader who was installed as the bishop in Lisbon after its liberation by Portuguese soldiers in the Second Crusade. The construction of the church began in 1147 and was first finished around 1150. The first holy relics to be brought into the site were the St Vincent of Saragossa, the patron saint of the city of Lisbon. Other important relics to be put inside the cathedral or one of its corresponding churches include Saint António and other important people from this time period.

The cathedral was also the site where a new order was established by Queen Eleanor (D. Leonor). She founded the Brotherhood of Invocation to Our Lady of Mercy of Lisbon inside one of the smaller chapels found within the cathedral. This Catholic charity began here, but also spread to other cities in the country and helped to form what is now modern-day Lisbon.

Those who are interested in the architecture and art of the medieval time period will enjoy looking at the intricate work on both the interior and exterior of the cathedral. Because of major earthquakes in 1344 and 1755, the cathedral does have an eclectic mix of architectural elements. While the original structure was built in the Romanesque style, the modern-day cathedral also features elements of the Gothic, neoclassical, baroque and Rococo styles.

For those who visit the site today, all of these things are apparent, including a range of medieval religious artwork and the excavated central courtyard that reveals the Roman and Arab origins of the area. The cloister and the sacristy are available for touring, though a small fee is required to enter. Other areas of the cathedral are free to enter.


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