Photography by João Valério
The Santa Cruz de Coimbra organ is the result of several interventions between the 16th and 18th century. The original instrument was built from 1530 to 1532 (with cases by Francisco Lorete), enlarged by Heitor Lobo in 1559 and again enlarged by Miguel Hensberg in 1694. In 1694, after Hensberg’s intervention, the organ had already the sections corresponding to the Órgão Principal and Positivo. From 1719 to 1724 Manuel Benito Gomez repairs, rebuilds and enlarges the existing organ, adding a third section, corresponding to the Eco section.
In an 18th century document the instrument is compared to some of the most important organs in Europe. The organ is located in the Gospel wall, at the middle of the nave, and is gilded and painted in a lively red color. The towers are crowned with figures holding objects (mosty flags and banners), angels with trumpets and an eagle on the central tower. The horizontal pipes are distributed over several levels and even surround a section of the Positivo de Costas (“Rückpositiv”) section. On the central pipe of the main case it is also possible to discover the coat of arms of Portugal, painted halfway of its length, as happens also in the nearby organ of Universidade de Coimbra.
1719-1724 – organ construction
1866 – organ restoration by Luís António Carvalho
2008 – organ restoration by Oficina e Escola de Organaria Pedro Guimarães e Beate von Rodhen