Capela de Sao Miguel (Saint Michael's Chapel), Coimbra

Capela de Sao Miguel (Saint Michael's Chapel), Coimbra

Saints have declared true beauty is within. The Saint Michael's Chapel at the University of Coimbra is plain enough on the outside. Inside it is a treasure. It was built in the 12th century as the private royal oratory. Saint Michael is the Archangel Michael, defender of King Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal.

Viewed from outside, the portal is the overwhelming feature of the facade. There are columns on each side of the portal, decorated with maritime symbols. The Portuguese royal crest and the crucifix were put in place in the 16th century on orders of King Manuel.

The inside of the chapel is lush with harmonious elements of decor furnished in the 17th and 18th centuries. The most prominent features of the space are the ceilings, the blue azulejo tiles, the high altar and tabernacle and especially the organ.

The altarpiece above the high altar has a large gilded throne from the 18th century. There are two side altars. On the left is the altar of Our Lady of Light, patroness of Academics. On the right is the altar of Saint Catherine. The azulejo tiles were set in 1613. They cover the walls of the nave like an arras or carpet.

The Baroque organ dates to 1737. It was commissioned by John V. It is covered with gilded chinoiserie. It has over 2,000 pipes and it works. There are masses every Sunday.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Coimbra. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Capela de Sao Miguel (Saint Michael's Chapel) on Map

Sight Name: Capela de Sao Miguel (Saint Michael's Chapel)
Sight Location: Coimbra, Portugal (See walking tours in Coimbra)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Coimbra, Portugal

Create Your Own Walk in Coimbra

Create Your Own Walk in Coimbra

Creating your own self-guided walk in Coimbra is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Coimbra Introduction Walking Tour

Coimbra Introduction Walking Tour

The ancient Roman city of Aeminium, by the Mondego River, eventually became the city of Coimbra. The modern Machado de Castro National Museum rests on the remains of a medieval bishop's palace. The palace was supported by an old cryptoporticus and Roman forum. The forum was the seed of the political and religious center of a city always reborn.

For more than 100 years Aeminium was held by...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Historic Buildings Walking Tour

Historic Buildings Walking Tour

Amid the array of historic buildings narrating the cultural and architectural heritage of Coimbra, Portugal, there are both secular structures and great churches, dating back centuries. Apart from their historical value, these buildings exemplify the resplendent European architecture of the past, featuring Baroque, Renaissance, Rococo, and other styles. Some of them are richly decorated on the...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles