Typical houses in the Ribeira district, PORTO

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This is one of the most attractive and well-proportioned squares to be seen. The robust bell towers give this beautiful church the appearance of a fortress. The towers were built in the Middle Ages but the façade was redesigned later in the Mannerist-Baroque style. Imposing and overlooking the square, it has a three-storey façade decorated with niches containing statues and triangular windows above them. The interior has a knotted rib vault with maritime motifs extending over three naves and a very holy atmosphere, evident in the excellent carved gilt 17 th. century high altar. There are also stalls in Brazilian wood and an Italian marble sculpture of Christ on the cross.

A medium-sized cloister serves as an annexe (and completes the square on the outside perpendicular to the façade of the church). It has two storeys and is intricately designed. The lower floor is entirely in the Italian Renaissance style, with columns decorated with Ionic capitals and half arches. The upper floor, added later in the 18th. century, has a touch of the Baroque style with Tuscan columns.

This very important museum of ancient art stands next to the cathedral. It is located inside the former Bishop’s Palace and the jewel in the crown of its collection is a series of 16th. century paintings. There are many excellent paintings by the Master Grão Vasco, inspired by the Renaissance and by Brueghel. There are also more recent works, including some by the Master Domingos Sequeira, a pre-Romantic, and the dark, disturbing canvases of the great Portuguese Romantic painter Columbano, pulsing with life.
Medieval sculptures from the 12th. century, images from the 15th. and 16th. centuries and Baroque items, together with a collection of ancient ceramics are also on display.
For many centuries the great works of Western art were dedicated to the church. In this beautiful museum many religious and other items are on display, ranging from priest’s robes to books and furniture. There are also two 18th. century coffer-reliquaries which are the only examples of their kind in the world and reliquaries containing the remains of a saint.