Lamego Cathedral

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I wasn’t planning to visit Sé Catedral de Lamego because I thought mass had already started, but Paulo had stepped in for a while and emerged to look for me with assurance that I had time to go in. The cathedral is large as you can see from the exterior, but I was able to take a few interior pictures and join them in the garden once the service was underway.

The oldest parts of the cathedral date as far back to the 12th century, but as with Portugal’s other early religious monuments, Lamego’s  underwent major restoration work over time — in this case, during the 16th and 17th centuries. Personally, I found the mix of styles made the cathedral more architecturally interesting, but after nine centuries of remodelling I suspect the current look would make the founders roll over in their graves!

Let’s go in…

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The photo below is the kind of journalistic moment I always hope for but find generally elusive, because of timing and situation. By that I mean I either don’t have the right light (cathedrals are typically very dark), or I’m not able to find a position that puts me at a respectful distance from the people I’m photographing (cathedrals are typically cavernous and I don’t have a long lens), or there is no organist playing to drown out the sound of my shutter in an echo chamber. But when the stars align and the venue is favourable to photography, I am in photojournalistic heaven.

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The other puffy clouds in my photojournalistic heaven include the availability of light and shadows in this cloister, and the textures, colours and scenes I found within. The cloister is undergoing renovation, but I was able to move around half of it freely as it was empty apart from the three of us.

An excerpt from Visit Portugal: Sé Catedral de Lamego

The tower windows are the oldest surviving feature, with their delicately carved capitals providing one of the finest examples of the twelfth-century Romanesque style of architecture. In the sixteenth century, the bishop D. Manoel de Noronha ordered the upper part to be added, leaving his coat of arms as his own personal stamp. The remarkable façade was added in the same century: it has the form of a triple portal, bringing together Renaissance and Flamboyant Gothic features to create a beautiful whole.

Inside the cathedral, the cloister, dating from the same period and decorated with small, elegant arches, provides an example of the transitional style of architecture leading from the Gothic to the Renaissance. The same bishop D. Manuel de Noronha ordered the building of this cloister in 1524, together with the chapels of St John, St Anthony and St Nicholas, the door of the latter chapel being a remarkable piece of iron work, housing the tomb of its founding bishop inside. The predominant decorative style inside the cathedral is eighteenth-century baroque. A large skylight in the centre affords a gentle light over the three naves.

Diocese of Lamego (only in Portuguese):

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The cathedral’s vaulted ceilings have beautiful frescoes painted by Nicolau Nasoni in the 18th century, but I also found great joy in the contrast of blue and white scenes in azulejos next to the three-dimensional baroque scenes in one of the small chapels in the cloister (which one this is, I could not tell you).

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To get a proper view of the mix of architecture requires a full loop around the , but in this series of photos I’m missing the south side, which happens to be the best side to view the ancient tower, unfortunately. In the two photos below, you can see the top of it on the right side.

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Holiday Weekend: Assunção de Nossa Senhora 2014
August 15, 2014
Album: Lamego, Portugal (Assunção de Nossa Senhora 2014 Festas)