Churches in Porto, Portugal
Cathedrals, Churches & Chapels in Porto
Portugal is a land full of churches. Even the smallest village in the most remote area of the country will have a church. Churches are often still a focus of community life in Portugal as well as repositories of local and national history, fine architecture and the well-spring of many local festivals.
Porto, Portugal's second city, has a number of outstanding churches.
See a listing of churches in Porto, Portugal.
Porto Cathedral (Sé) is located in the center of Porto's old town very close to Sao Bento Station. The historic, fortress-like Romanesque church dates from 1110, though construction was completed in the 13th century, making the cathedral one of the oldest buildings in Porto. Porto's cathedral holds an important place in Portuguese history as it was here that Prince Henry the Navigator was baptized and King John I married the Princess Philippa of Lancaster in the 14th century, leading to the long-standing Anglo-Portuguese alliance.
Torre dos Clérigos
The Torre dos Clérigos is a very popular attraction in Porto with a line of foreign tourists waiting to ascend the 75m tower each day in the summer vacation season for spectacular views over the city. Designed by Italian architect, Nicolau Nasoni, the Torre dos Clérigos is an icon of the city and was the tallest building in Portugal when it was completed in 1763.
Igreja dos Clérigos
The Igreja dos Clérigos (Clérigos Church) is the church in front of its more famous bell tower, the 75m-high Torre dos Clérigos, in central Porto. Both tower and church were designed by the prolific Italian architect, Nicolau Nasoni (1691-1773), who was so active in the city and other parts of northern Portugal during the 18th century.
Igreja de Santo Ildefonso
The Igreja de Santo Ildefonso situated close to Batalha Square, dates back to the 18th century. The church was completed in 1739 and includes a framed altarpiece by the prolific Italian architect, Nicolau Nasoni. The granite church, in Baroque style, was 30 years in construction and is named after an early, 7th century Bishop of Toledo, Ildephonsus.
Igreja da Misericórdia
The Museu da Misericórdia do Porto is located on the historic Rua das Flores in downtown Porto. This beautiful modern museum is connected to the historic 16th century church of Igreja da Misericórdia re-designed in the 18th century by the Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni, whose work can be seen in many outstanding buildings of historical interest around the city.
Igreja dos Congregados
The Igreja dos Congregados (Igreja de Santo Antonio dos Congregados) stands just to the north of Sao Bento Station in Praça de Almeida Garrett in the old city area of Porto. Igreja dos Congregados was built in 1703 on the site of a previous chapel. Restoration work on the church was done in the 19th century and the classic blue and white azulejos tiles by Jorge Colaço were added in the 20th century and depict scenes from the life of Saint Anthony.
Igreja de São Francisco
The Igreja de São Francisco in Praça Infante Dom Henrique has an austere Gothic front but within is a wealth of Baroque features. The main façade has a large rose window done in the Gothic style. But it is the interior of the church which has the most breath-taking features with several ornate chapels done in elaborate gilded woodwork and an altarpiece by Filipe da Silva and António Gomes. It represents a family tree of Jesus with twelve kings of Judah connected by branches of a tree to the recumbent body of Jesse.
Igreja de Santo Clara
The Igreja de Santo Clara just to the east of Porto's cathedral, was part of a Franciscan convent. Boasting a fine Renaissance portal, the church's interior has fine gilded woodwork.
Igreja do São João Novo
The Igreja do São João Novo dates from 1539 and was built on land in the city's Jewish quarter. The church has been rebuilt and restored on numerous occasions in its history.
Igreja do Carmo & Igreja dos Carmelitas
The Igreja do Carmo and Igreja dos Carmelitas are twin churches at the corner of Praça de Carlos Alberto and Rua do Carmo. Igreja do Carmo has an azulejo-covered exterior with the church done in the rococo style. The church was built between 1756 and 1768. The azulejos were added in 1912 and were made locally in Vila Nova de Gaia. The Igreja do Carmo stands next door to the Igreja dos Carmelitas, part of a 17th century convent. The two churches are separated by a very narrow (1m wide) house that was inhabited until the 1980's. The house was built so that the two churches would not share a common wall and to prevent any relations between the nuns of Igreja dos Carmelitas and the monks of Igreja do Carmo.
Igreja de Santa Marinha
The Igreja de Santa Marinha is a church in Vila Nova de Gaia, across the Douro River in Gaia. The original 16th century church has later work by Nicolau Nasoni with the nave covered by a barrel vaulted ceiling.
Capela das Almas
The Capela das Almas de Santa Catarina on the fashionable, pedestrianized shopping street of Rua de Santa Catarina, next to Bolhão metro station, is one of the most attractive churches in Porto from the outside. The church dates from the 18th century. However, it is the early 20th century makeover by Eduardo Leite, that distinguishes the church as one of the most interesting in Porto. The classic 18th century-style, blue and white tile panels on the side of the church depict The Death of St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint in the Presence of Pope Honorious III, and The Martyrdom of St. Catherine.
Igreja de São Nicolau
The Igreja de São Nicolau is another of the many beautiful churches in Porto. Located south of the Igreja de São Francisco and the Palácio da Bolsa, the Igreja de São Nicolau is close to the banks of the River Douro. The Igreja de São Nicolau dates from 1671 when it replaced a small medieval chapel. It suffered a fire in 1768 and was repaired in a mix of neo-classical and baroque styles by 1762. The facade is lined with blue and white azulejos tiles added in the 1860's. In the pediment above is a niche with the image of St. Nicholas done in limestone. The interior of the church has a single nave with vaulting in brick. The altarpiece is gilded wood in the rococo style by Manuel de Jesus Monteiro. The fine panels are by the painter João Glama.