Coimbra | Things to do
Its rich history is reason enough to deserve a visit. Coimbra has a lot to offer, here are some examples. A traditional university city with great historical and cultural richness.
University of Coimbra
The University of Coimbra is one of the oldest universities in Europe. Founded in Lisbon by King Denis in 1290, it was moved permanently to Coimbra in 1537, occupying the buildings of the Medieval Royal Palace. During the reigns of D. João V and Joséph I, the institution underwent great changes, not only regarding the teachings but also the construction of new buildings in baroque and neoclassical styles. The Sala dos Capelos, or Grand Hall of Acts, is the main room of the University where the solemn academic ceremonies are held. The baroque Joanina Library, built in the 18th century during the reign of Juan V, is guarded by a façade ornamented with the national coat of arms. It contains nearly 250,000 volumes.
Monastery of Santa Clara a Nova
The convent of Santa Clara a Nova, usually known as the Monastery of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, patron saint of Coimbra, was built in the 17th century and replacing the old medieval monastery of Santa Clara a Velha, victim of the periodic floods of the Mondego River. It is an important repository of the Portuguese art of the 14th to 17th centuries and holds the remains of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, founder of the original monastery.
Church of the Santa Cruz Monastery
It was founded in 1131 by the order of the Canons Regular of St. Augustine with the support of Kings Afonso I of Portugal and Sancho I, buried in it.
Church of the Monastery of Santa Clara a Velha
Located on the left bank of the Mondego River and built at a very low altitude, this Gothic temple built at the end of the 13th century was abandoned in the 17th century due to the constant floods caused by the river. It has recently undergone to a recovery and valuation.
Sé Velha (Old Cathedral)
The current temple is dated in the second half of the 12th century. It was opened to worship in
1184 and keeps the Romanesque style of the second stage of Coimbra. It is a project of the French master Robert. The church has a solid and symmetrical exterior with few openings and is crowned by battlements.
Built on top of the Almedina Arch, its main function was to guard and defend the main access door to the city within the walls.
Holy Inquisition Courtyard
The Holy Inquisition Courtyard owes its name to the buildings with great historical and architectural value where the Tribunal of the Holy Office used to function since 1560 until its extinction in 1821.
Portugal dos Pequenitos
Portugal dos Pequenitos, inaugurated on June 8th 1940, is an educational theme park conceived by Bissaya Barreto and designed by architect Cassiano Branco.
The Marquis of Pombal created this ensemble, considered as the most beautiful botanical garden of the country. Besides the multiple species that justify the visit, it also offers a great range of decorative elements, such as fountains and statues.