Viseu: the old town and the Se cathedral

14 august 2016 

What to see in Viseu? Viseu has a picturesque historic centre, offers some museums, one of which is housed in the Se cathedral, originally built during the 12th century on the top of an hill. As in many cities of Portugal, visitors may stay overnight in a pousada (historic buildings converted to hotels) an experience that worth a try.

Se of Viseu
Viseu is a town of almost 50,000 inhabitants, with a long and interesting history. Our excursion to Viseu starts with the Se, an imposing cathedral built on top of a hill that dominates the whole city.
Renaissance facade
The Se cathedral of Viseu dates back to the 12th century and has a rather austere facade in Renaissance style. The structure is largely made of granite.
Granite belltower
Se cathedral cloister Azulejo
The cloister inside the cathedral of Se, is one of the oldest Italian Renaissance style structures in whole Portugal. Some of the porch walls are decorated with beautiful azulejos (ceramic tiles that form a sort of large mosaic).
Viseu cathedral Cathedral in Portugal
The interior of Se Viseu cathedral reveals a 16th century setting, dominated by massive columns that blend with a Manueline ceiling.

Photo of the sumptuous interiors of the Se cathedral, where there are also splendid frescoes.
Se cathedral

A narrow corridor with walls decorated by azulejos leads to the sacristy, a completely tiled room with a beautifully frescoed ceiling.
Se museum in Viseu
The cathedral of Viseu houses an interesting museum preserving relics, documents and antique furniture. Some rooms are beautifully decorated with azulejos dating back to the 18th century.
St. Teotonius relic

In the first picture, the relic of St. Teotonius (you can see the bone of the arm). In the second picture, the rooms of Se cathedral.
Church of Mercy
Opposite the Se cathedral, along the opposite side of the large square, stands the Church of Mercy (Igreja da Misericordia), dating back to 1775.
Gate through the walls
Viseu walls

Hiking among the old town, we can see the ancient city walls enclosing the historic center of Viseu and granting the access through several doors along all the perimeter.
Dom Duarte square, Viseu
Not far from the cathedral, in the central Dom Duarte square, there is a statue of Duke of Braganza, as well as a good number of places to dine outdoors enjoying some local specialties.
Modern azulejos
Near Republic square, some modern azulejos depict traditional life scenes.
Garden in Viseu
In Viseu there are several gardens with flower beds, particularly in the Rossio district, which is located in the southwestern quadrant of the city.
Walking through the streets of Viseu, among small churches.
Viseu old town

The old town of Viseu is a maze of narrow alleys, where it is pleasant to walk in search of the most picturesque places.
Viseu - Portugal
Walking through the streets of Viseu, between alleys, ancient and modern streets, walls and access doors.
Casa da Se
Where to sleep in Viseu? Like all Portugal, Viseu also offers opportunity to spend the night in a pousada, historic buildings converted to hotels not having lot of things in common with the hotel chains (which are all the same) that you can find in any city of the world. For our overnight stay in Viseu we chose Casa da Se, in the city center and a few steps from the cathedral.
Hotel in Viseu Pousada
It is certainly worthwhile to show some more photos of Casa da Se, a beautiful pousada-hotel in the center of Viseu, with the traditional furniture.

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