Sé Catedral de Évora
The largest medieval cathedral in Portugal.
A fortified church with Gothic features, Évora Cathedral is the largest cathedral in Portugal. Initiated in 1186, consecrated in 1204, and immediately used as one of the main temples of the Marian cult, it was only complete in 1250. It is a monument that showcases the transition from the Romanesque to the Gothic style, with Renaissance and Baroque additions introduced later.
The facade is flanked by two towers, both medieval, with the bells being placed in the south tower. The north tower houses a number of valuable treasures belonging to the Museum of the Sacred Art; some unique priceless pieces, such as the image of the Virgin of Paradise, a figurine of the Virgin and Child that opens up from the lap and portrays an altarpiece with various scenes of the Birth and Passion. The remarkable central dome, built at the end of the 13th century during the reign of King Dinis, is the Cathedral’s true showstopper. The main portico is one of the most impressive Portuguese gothic portals, with master sculptures of the Apostles made in the 14th century by Master Pêro, a leading name in national Gothic sculptures. Besides the main portico there are two other entrances: the Porta do Sol, facing south, with Gothic arches; and the North Gate, rebuilt in the Baroque period.
The interior is divided into three naves about 80 metres long. In the central nave you can see the altar of Our Lady of the Angel (locally known as Nossa Senhora do Ó), with polychrome marble images of the Virgin and the Angel Gabriel. The 18th-century altar and the marble chapel in Estremoz are Baroque works by J.F. Ludwig, known as Ludovice, who was the architect of the Palace of Mafra, at the service of King John V (1706-1750). In the chapel, a beautiful crucifix known as the "Father of the Christ" is displayed above the painting of Our Lady of the Assumption.
In the transept, see the ancient Chapels of Saint Lawrence and the Holy Christ, and the Chapels of the Relics and the Blessed Sacrament, decorated with gilded carvings. At the northern tip is the spectacular Renaissance portal of the Chapel of the Morgados do Esporão. And in the upper-choir is a very valuable renaissance chair carved in oak wood, and an organ of great proportions, also of the 18th century.
You can also visit the gothic cloister, dated 1325, and climb to the terrace, from where you can enjoy a beautiful panorama over the entire city of Évora, since the Cathedral is located at its highest point.
People in wheelchairs or who are visually impaired cannot reach some parts because there are too many steps and stairways, in particular the entrance of the cathedral and access to the upper floors. Inside, the spaces are narrow and there are quite a lot of obstacles to moving around.