Porto Cathedral, like the first band of city walls, was born in the 12th century by initiative of its first bishop, D. Hugo. The temple is also known as the church of Santa Maria do Porto, de Nossa Senhora do Porto da Eterna Salvação or Nossa Senhora da Vandoma – which attests to the importance the Marian cult has.
The building reached its present dimensions in the 13th century, and the following century the cloister was added on, built in Gothic style, as was the tomb of the Knight João Gordo in the chapel of St. John the Evangelist.
Kings D. João I and D. Filipa de Lencastre were married in Porto Cathedral, also in the 14th century, on February 14, 1387. The people of Porto dressed in their finery and the city was covered with flowers and fragrant herbs for the celebration feast.
Later, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the exterior and interior look of the cathedral was changed by baroque taste. The transformation of the portal (which still conserves the medieval rose window), the north facade and several other sites, such as the main chapel and the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, which has since housed a large silver altarpiece, executed by goldsmiths from Porto, stem from this period.
Various altarpieces and chapels show the Marian cult under different titles, such Nossa Senhora do Presépio, Nossa Senhora da Silva, Nossa Senhora da Piedade, Nossa Senhora da Esperança, Nossa Senhora da Expectação, Nossa Senhora da Conceição and Nossa Senhora da Vandoma – with this latter being the most important, as the patron of the city and included in the municipal coat of arms since the 16th century.
Also part of this architectural trove is the grandiose building of the Episcopal Palace, whose construction dates back to the 12th century.