Funchal cathedral © andyhawkins
In the heart of the historic section of Funchal stands the Sé do Funchal, the most impressive of Madeira's religious edifices. From outside, the simple rough white stucco and brownish basalt of the catherdral is not all that impressive, but after entering through the Gothic portal there is plenty to admire. The ceiling, for instance, is Moorish carved cedar inlaid with ivory, and behind the Baroque altar are paintings by Flemish and Portuguese artists. The late fifteenth-century cathedral is one of the few structures that survived intact since Madeira's early period of colonisation. As the centre piece of the structure, the cathedral contains a silver processional cross, donated by King Manuel I of Portugal, considered one of the masterpieces of precious metalwork of Portugal's Manueline style.