Located in the Alfama quarter, Lisbon Cathedral has been the seat of a bishopric since the 4th century AD (see Patriarch of Lisbon). After the period of Visigothic domination the city was conquered by the Moors and stayed under Arab control from the 8th to the 12th century, although Christians were allowed to live in Lisbon and its surroundings.
In the year 1147, the city was reconquered by D. Afonso Henriques, the former Portuguese 1st King.
The building in the Romanesque style of the Lisbon Cathedral (Se Cathedral) began to be raised from 1147 and was completed in the first decades of the 13th century. The project, it is very similar to the Coimbra’s Cathedral.
During the 14th and 16th centuries there were several earthquakes, but the worst of all was the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, which destroyed the Gothic main chapel along with the Royal Pantheon. The cloisters and many chapels were also ruined by the quake and the fire that followed.
The cathedral was partially rebuilt and, in the beginning of the 20th century, was given the appearance that it has today after a profound renovation. In recent years the central courtyard of the cloister has been excavated and shows signs of the Roman, Arab and mediaeval periods.
Archaeological excavations in the cloister garden, started in 1990. They have uncovered a number of different structures, classifiable between the 6th century b.c, and the 14th century d.c, proven by the existence of a landfill, and ceramics of oriental influence, especially Phoenician.
The Roman occupation dates back to the first century d.c shown by the construction of a sidewalk and sewer pipes. Muslims testimonies correspond to household pottery found in the garden, and recently, to a reasonable depth, was discovered the earlier mosque.
Much there is to say, but just a quick note. In the last quarter of the 15th century, it is believed that the famous Saint Vincent Panels, painted by Nuno Gonçalves, were placed in the St Vincent chapel of the ambulatory. The panels are now in the National Ancient Art Museum in Belém, Lisbon.