Built in 1139 by King Alfonso Henriques, the cathedral stands as one of the oldest and most beautiful structures in Europe. It was originally dedicated to Santa Maria, but later changed its name to São Salvador when it became a bishopric seat.
The exterior walls feature an impressive mix of architectural styles, with large windows framed by sandstone arches and decorative buttresses along the sides. The main entrance features two sets of double doors leading into a grand hallway adorned with intricate stone carvings depicting biblical scenes from both Old and New Testaments. Inside, visitors will find an awe-inspiring collection of frescoes, sculptures and stained-glass windows that span several centuries worth of artistry.
One highlight inside is the Chapel Royal, which houses tombs belonging to members of Portugal’s royal family, including Queen Isabel de Aragao who died in 1336 at age 28 after giving birth to her son Afonso IV; King Pedro I who died in 1367 during his reign; and King Ferdinand I who passed away in 1383 while still ruling over Portugal.
Another must-see attraction inside is the tombstone for João III, which dates back to 1557 when he was declared king following his father Manuel I’s death five years earlier. This ornate marble monument features a life-size figure lying on top surrounded by four smaller statues representing Justice, Prudence, Strength and Temperance – all virtues embodied by João III throughout his rule over Portugal until his death 39 years later at age 58.
In addition to its rich history, Sé Velha also serves as home base for many religious ceremonies held throughout the year, such as Easter Masses or weddings between couples wishing for their union blessed under God’s eyes within these sacred walls. There are also concerts held periodically featuring traditional Portuguese music performed on ancient instruments such as lutes or harpsichords that echo through this majestic building, creating an atmosphere like no other place can offer you.
Whether you’re looking for a spiritual experience or just want to admire some breathtaking works from past eras – make sure not miss out on visiting Coimbra’s Old Cathedral (Sé Velha).