Seen from far, the towers of the cathedral are a reference point for those visiting the city of Viseu. The current cathedral was built next to an ancient Swabian-Visigoth temple possibly dating back to the 10th century during which the city was the capital to a large territory between the Douro and Mondego rivers. However, it was during the reign of King Afonso Henriques that this splendid cathedral, a symbol of Viseu’s History, began to take shape.
When you get to the churchyard of the Cathedral, you will see a majestic façade delimitated by two tall bell towers, one built during mediaeval times and the other during the 17th century, after it was brought down by a violent storm. Among them, you will find the central body much like a remarkable stone retable, registry over registry, in which six niches holding sculptures representing the four evangelists, Saint Theotonius, patron of the cathedral, and, at the heart of the set, you will see Our Lady of the Assumption. At the centre, the arched doorway invites you to enter.
Although the great towers make it look like a church-fortress, the style of Viseu Cathedral has been deeply altered as centuries went by because of several restoration works and additions which justify the present mixture of elements from different times. During the golden period of Viseu, which happened during the reign of King D. Dinis, mainly because of the lively Bishop D. Egas, the cathedral was renovated. The same happened during the Manueline era when works of incredible aesthetic quality were carried out in the building. Nowadays, those who pass through its doorway and have a look inside, are amazed by the imposing vaults which cover the entire space since the time of Bishop D. Diogo Ortiz de Vilhena. This was a work performed by one of the most recognized architects of the Manueline era: João de Castilho. A few centuries later, during the Baroque era, the interior of the cathedral was renovated again. It is possible to see the changes carried out during this period in the magnificent gilded woodcarvings, tile panels and the painted figures which were also added to the cloister and the chapter house. In central Beira, Viseu Cathedral still stands out for its splendour.
Working Days: 08H00 – 12H00 | 14H00 – 19H00
Weekend: 09H00 – 12H00 | 14H00 – 19H00
Closes on Thursdays and on Saturday mornings