Coimbra Portuga Travel
Coimbra Portugal: Coimbra Portugal is a city and a municipality in Portugal. The population at the 2011 census was 143,397, in an area of 319.40 square kilometres (123.3 sq mi). The fourth-largest urban centre in Portugal (after Lisbon, Porto and Braga), it is the largest city of the district of Coimbra and the Centro Region. About 460,000 people live in the Região de Coimbra, comprising 19 municipalities and extending into an area of 4,336 square kilometres (1,674 sq mi).
Among the many archaeological structures dating back to the Roman era, when Coimbra Portugal was the settlement of Aeminium, are its well-preserved aqueduct and cryptoporticus. Similarly, buildings from the period when Coimbra was the capital of Portugal (from 1131 to 1255) still remain. During the late Middle Ages, with its decline as the political centre of the Kingdom of Portugal, Coimbra Portugal began to evolve into a major cultural centre. This was in large part helped by the establishment of the University of Coimbra Portugal in 1290, the oldest academic institution in the Portuguese-speaking world. Apart from attracting many European and international students, the university is visited by many tourists for its monuments and history. Its historical buildings were classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2013: “Coimbra offers an outstanding example of an integrated university city with a specific urban typology as well as its own ceremonial and cultural traditions that have been kept alive through the ages.”
When was Coimbra capital of Portugal?
From 1139 until 1260, when it was replaced by Lisbon, the city of Coimbra was the capital of Portugal.
What is Coimbra famous for?
With a dense urban grid, the municipality is known primarily for the city of Coimbra Portugal, itself famous for its monuments, churches, libraries, museums, parks, nightlife, healthcare and shopping facilities.
What is the best area to stay in Porto Portugal?
One of the most popular areas to stay and where most hotels are in the surroundings of Torre de los Clérigos and in the neighbouring Praça da Liberdade, in central Porto. Other nice areas include Praça Batalha and Mercado do Bolhão, which are both very near the city centre and well communicated.
Hotels In Coimbra Portugal
Once the capital of Portugal all the way back in the 13th century, Coimbra Portugal has many impressive edifices, churches, and monasteries dating back to those days. As such, there is so many things to see and do in Coimbra. Famed for its university, which is one of the oldest in Europe, the city is a laidback place to visit, with lots of great bars and restaurants for you to enjoy. While it may not have the wealth of tourist attractions that Porto and Lisbon have, Coimbra offers an authentic Portuguese experience away from all the crowds and is well worth a visit. A captivating city with much to offer, it’s intoxicating mix of history, culture, and art makes for an irresistible and unforgettable trip.
Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha
The hulking remains of the monastery are wonderful to walk around and are remarkably well preserved, considering the fact that they were abandoned and neglected for over 300 years. Located right next to the Mondego River, frequent floods meant that the nuns were forced to leave the monastery, and it now appears partially submerged and sunken into the ground. The Gothic ruins with its crumbling cloisters and dilapidated bell tower now host music concerts and events and a short film tells you all about the history of this interesting and indeed beautiful monastery. Named Santa Clara-a-Velha, in the 17th century, the nuns relocated to a new monastery, which is now home to some of the tombs that used to be located in the sunken ruins.
Se Velha (Old Cathedral)
Appearing very much like a castle, Se Velha’s towering walls are lined with crenellations and its narrow window-slits only add to its fort-like features. Coimbra Portugal used to be at the border where Christianity and Islam met. Notwithstanding the solid look, it is a fine Romanesque building. The cathedral was consecrated in 1184 when Coimbra Portugal was the capital of the nation. While the exterior appears appropriately forbidding, the interior is covered in ostentatious decorations and designs and the Gothic high altar really is special to behold. The barrel vault nave adds to the magnificence of the place and lovely geometric designs and animal motifs decorate the cathedral, while the elegant cloisters are a delightful mix of Gothic and Romanesque styles.
Machado de Castro National Museum
A captivating place to visit in Coimbra, the Machado de Castro National Museum houses an extraordinary collection of sculptures, altarpieces, paintings and more, and is a must visit when in Coimbra. Curated from various churches and religious institutions from around the country, the art museum’s extensive collection includes the largest number of sculptures in Portugal. With lots of gold jewelry, religious relics, ceramics, and textiles on display, there are plenty of interesting things to see; some of the artworks date back to the 10th century. Named after the famous sculptor Joaquim Machado de Castro, the museum is located on top of a site which used to be a Roman Forum; you can actually visit the 2000-year-old remains of the cryptoporticus beneath the building.
A beautiful Baroque library, the Biblioteca Joanina dates to the 18th century and is named after its benefactor – the Portuguese King John V – who commissioned its construction. Located on the Paco das Escolas, where the Portuguese kings once lived, the library lies at the heart of the University of Coimbra in a lovely old building. The interior is absolutely stunning; it is dripping in exotic wood, tasteful decorations, and beautiful bookcases. With nearly 300,000 ancient books and manuscripts dating to the 1500’s in its extensive collection, the Biblioteca Joanina is wonderful to walk around and its fine furnishings only add to the refined feel.
University of Coimbra
One of the oldest universities in Europe – and indeed the world – the University of Coimbra was actually founded in Lisbon before being transferred to Coimbra Portugal in 1537. Located on a hill in the center of the city, it is a very popular tourist attraction, and rightfully so; the buildings in which it is housed are marvelous to behold. Originally a medieval palace, over the centuries, Baroque and neo-classical features have been added to the university. It really does look special, with the fine old buildings lining the expansive courtyard at its center. Among the many highlights are the 17th century ceremonial hall and the 16th century tower, which provides breathtaking views over the city below.
Coimbra Portugal Weather
Many tourists to Coimbra visit as part of a coach or guided tour that spend less than 2 hours within the city, and this barely scratches the surface of this wonderful city. Coimbra Portugal at a minimum requires one and half days just to explore the main sights, while the great day trips could extend a stay to four or five days. Coimbra has a lively nightlife and fabulous restaurants and is worthy of at least a night’s stay even for those visitors on a limited time frame. For those visitors who spend time to discover the city will be rewarded with a rich understanding and appreciation of the city and it’s people.
Coimbra is Easy to Travel To
Coimbra is half way between Lisbon and Porto, and this makes for the perfect destination to break the journey between the two major cities. The express train (the Alpha Pendular??), which connects Lisbon to Porto stops at Coimbra and it is little more than 1.5 hour from either city. This means that Coimbra is ideal for visitors who are reliant on public transport, with regular and inexpensive from both major airport cities. Once in Coimbra the historic centre is compact and it can be easily explored on foot.
Coimbra Portugal Hotels
Coimbra is Portugal’s historic and fascinating university city, which makes for a great destination as part of a tour or holiday of central Portugal. Coimbra Portugal is a varied and captivating city that boasts an extensive history, vibrant atmosphere and a range of interesting tourist attractions.
Coimbra contains one of the world’s oldest universities but the city is no historic relic, it is an affluent city that is both liberal and forward thinking, in part due to the large student population. As a tourist destination Coimbra will appeal to wide selection of visitors; it crammed with interesting historical monuments but equally has a lively atmosphere and great nightlife. Coimbra is often overlooked by foreign visitors but for those tourists who defy convention will discover a truly enthralling holiday destination.
Coimbra Portugal University
In terms of historic significance and romantic beauty, Coimbra is second only to Lisbon and Oporto. Its ancient buildings cling to the side of the hill that rises above the curves of the river Mondego, the ornate buildings of the famous University of Coimbra are its crowning glory.
Indeed the university is still the lifeblood of the city and the change in atmosphere is notable when the summer holidays come and the thousands of students head back to their hometowns. Reputed to be the second oldest in the world, the Universidade de Coimbra opened it doors in 1290 and has produced many nationally and globally acclaimed academics. These include Zeca Alfonso, one of the main organisers of the democratic revolution in 1974, and ironically the creator of the dictatorship he helped overthrow, Salazar, not to forget Portugal’s most loved poet, Luis Camões. Its traditions stand strong and it is still commonplace for students to don black capes and coloured ribbons denoting their faculty. Despite its strong bonds with the past, nowadays the university has a truly international feel with students of 70 different nationalities coming to study in what is still one of the most revered centres of learning with the second most important library in the land.
Besides the inevitable raucous nightlife and youthful activity typical of any university town, many of the town’s annual festivities revolve around the university and its students. At the beginning of each academic year, the new arrivals are welcomed in a noisy parade known as the Festa das Latas and given a baptism into academic life in the Mondego River. Other ceremonial events revolve around the presentation and then burning of the faculty coloured ribbons and last over a week! At such festas one would find many examples of the traditional music of Portugal – Fado – however in Coimbra it has its own distinctive flavour, renowned for being more melancholy and having complex lyrics. Caped bards of the university, known collectively as the Tuna Académica often perform such concerts. On a night out in the city, which generally centres around the Largo da Sé Velha, Fado performers draw crowds to bars and the aforementioned Tuna give impromptu concerts on street corners known as seranatas. Of course international style clubs and bars also provide a great night out, some staying open until daylight.
Beyond the university, Coimbra has much else to offer the visitor not least an array of medieval churches. Accessing the old part of the city through the Arco de Almedina, we find two cathedrals known as Sé Velha (old) and Sé Nova (new) referring to their respective ages, and though the ‘new’ one dates back to the 17th century its senior was founded in 1170. Regarding the old cathedral, a guided tour of the interior and cloisters is generally available from a willing student in return for a tip, however the décor tends to be quite simple and restrained in comparison to other churches. The Igreja da Santa Cruz is a perfect example of more elaborate architecture. Much of the Manueline style it boasts, which replaced the original Romanesque features dating from its founding in the eleven hundreds, are the product of serious remodelling in the early 16th century. The most impressive features are product of the skills employed from an acclaimed sculpture school that existed in the city at the time, notably the royal tombs and the intricate pulpit.
For the romantics among us, the Quinta das Lagrimas is an attraction as it was here, the Camões poem tells us, that the tragic love story of Portugal – that of Dom Pedro and his Spanish mistress Inês de Castro – took place in the 13 hundreds. The Portuguese ‘Juliet’ was reputedly killed in these gardens on the orders of the disapproving King, father of Dom Pedro. Distraught, the young prince made his courtiers kiss the hand of the beautiful young corpse. The two were finally united and now lay in the monastery of Santa Maria in Alcobaça.