Universidade de Coimbra
Coimbra’s Unesco-listed university, one of the world’s earliest, was initially founded in Lisbon at 1290. It was then relocated a few times before being eternally established in Coimbra in 1537. Its showpiece center is your Pátio das Escolas, a huge courtyard surrounded by imperial 16th- to 18th-century buildings. These include the Paço das Escolas, Torre da Universidade, Prisão Acadêmica, Capela p São Miguel and Biblioteca Joanina.
The university’s baroque library in Coimbra’s headline sight. Named after King João V, that sponsored its structure between 1717 and 1728, it sports a remarkable central hallway adorned with intricate ceiling frescoes and spacious rosewood, ebony and jacaranda tables. Towering gilt chinoiserie shelves hold some 40,000 publications, largely on philosophy, law and theology. Oddly, the library also houses a colony of bats to safeguard the novels — they consume possibly harmful insects.
Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro
This fantastic museum is a highlight of central Portugal. Housed in a 12th-century bishop’s palace, it moves across the town’s ancient Roman forum, remains of which may be understood from the maze of eerie tunnels beneath the building — even the cryptoporticus. When you emerge from that, you can begin on the intriguing art collection, which runs the gamut from Gothic religious sculpture into 16th-century Flemish painting and ornately crafted furniture.
Coimbra’s 12th-century cathedral is one of Portugal’s best examples of Romanesque architecture. The most important portal site and facade are especially striking, particularly on hot summer evenings when the gold stone appears to shine in the soft light. Its construction was funded by Portugal’s first king, Afonso Henriques, also finished in 1184 in a time once the country was threatened by the Moors, thus its crenellated narrow and exterior, slit-like reduced windows. Interior highlights include an elaborate late-Gothic retable plus a beautiful 13th-century cloister.
Museu da Ciência
Coimbra’s science ministry is fantastic, with all from kid-friendly interactive machines into ancient scientific tools, fossils and skeletons. The diverse collection is dispersed over three segments in 2 buildings: the chemistry labs in which the ticket office is, and, over the street, the physics and natural history galleries. Highlights include a part on matter and light as well as also a riveting display of richly crafted physics devices, many dating from the 17th to 19th centuries.
Paço das Escolas
Housed in a former royal palace, this really is the historical center of the college, in which conventional academic ceremonies continue to be held. The key ceremonial hall is that the Sala dos Capelos (named after the instructional cape given to graduating doctorate students), a former exam room wrapped with dim portraits of Portugal’s kings and red quilt-like decoration. Nearby, the Sala do Exame Privado (Personal Assessment Room) is where graduates are covertly analyzed through the night.
Igreja de Santa Cruz
Overlooking the Wild Praça 8 de Maio, this is one of Coimbra’s oldest forts, dating to the 12th century. Little remains of the first Romanesque construction, and it borrows a lot of its existing appearance to some 16th-century makeover. Measure throughout the Renaissance porch along with showy 18th-century arch into the echoing tiled inside where you’re come across the fancy tombs of both Portugal’s first championships, Afonso Henriques and Sancho I. Also notable is its controlled Manueline cloister.
This previous prison for misbehaving pupils sits in the cellar of their Biblioteca Joanina. Initially located under the Sala dos Capelos, it was afterwards moved back into the medieval prison underneath the library (amazingly, the university managed to run its own separate legislation ). In 1834, following the liberal revolution in Portugal, the prison has been used as a deposit for books and illuminated manuscripts from convents and monasteries.
Jardins da Quinta das Lágrimas
According to legend, this really beautiful pocket of parkland is really where Dona Inês p Castro (aka Portugal’s Juliet into the Infante Pedro’s Romeo) was killed on the orders of King Afonso IV, Pedro’s daddy. Nowadays it is house to a five-star resort, however anyone can take a twist about the amorous grounds and track the Fonte dos Amores (Lovers’ Fountain), that further marks the place where Inês was struck . Look too for a sequoia tree planted by the Duke of Wellington.
The landmark’brand new’ palace, initiated from the Jesuits at 1598 and finished a century afterwards, overlooks the square of the exact same name high from the old city. Additionally, it comes with a bunch of reliquaries containing bones and worse in small saints and bishops, such as St Francis Xavier and St Luke (therefore it is maintained!) . Climb into the stage to get uplifting town views.
Torre da Universidade
Some of the university’s trademark landmarks, this 18th-century tower — along with its own bells and clock — modulates life. Constructed between 1728 and 1733, to the assumption that there might be no order with no clock, it had been initially coined as’that a cabra’ (‘goat’; or’bitch’ in modern lingo) since it rang out to end the day’s courses, representing the curfew (from days when pupils had to be home by 7pm or face prison) and there could be classes the next day.
Convento de Santa Clara-a-Nova
On west side of this river, this imposing convent was constructed in the 17th century to substitute the initial Convento de Santa Clara-a-Velha, which frequently suffered flood. It is dedicated almost exclusively to Queen Isabel (Coimbra’s patron saint), whose remains are encased in a silver casket over the altar. Paintings across the aisles exemplify her entire life story. Also of note is that the convent’s appealing 18th-century cloister.
A serene spot to catch your breath, the more beautiful university-run botanic garden sits at the shadow of this 16th-century Aqueduto p São Sebastião. Founded from the Marquês de Pombal, the backyard combines formal flower beds, meandering paths, and elegant fountains.
Parque Dr Manuel Braga
A fantastic place to get a curative timeout, this tranquil riverside park has been planned from the landscape gardener Jacinto de Matos from the 1920s. Amidst its coastal paths, you will encounter a bandstand (made by Silva Pinto) plus a set of sculptures, such as a bust of Antero de Quental, the famed Portuguese author and philosopher (1842–91), by Diogo de Macedo.
Statue of João III
Lording it on the primary university square, King João III turns his back into the sweeping city views supporting him and faces his great center of learning. It had been he who re-established the college at Coimbra in 1537 and encouraged big-shot scholars to instruct here in what had formerly been a royal palace.
Capela de São Miguel
Section of the principal university complicated, this elaborate 16th-century chapel includes a brightly colored ceiling, lush tilework, Manueline features plus a gilded 18th-century manhood with about 2000 pipes. Concerts continue to be held here on event.
The university’s most important entry is the Iron Gate, a 17th-century confection made by architect António Tavares at 1634 on the orders of Rector D Álvaro da Costa. It stands on exactly the exact same place as the first gateway into Coimbra’s Moorish citadel and was the first significant work after the purchase of this Royal Palace by King Felipe I in 1597.
Arco de Almedina
This heavy duty Moorish gateway, just off the primary shopping drag, contributes through to Coimbra’s upper city. Follow through the arch and head up the steep stairs called the Rua Quebra-Costas (‘Backbreaker’) and you will end up in the center of the town’s historic center. This labyrinthine quarter of tightly-packed homes and dim cobbled escape was once a Moorish stronghold and to get a century served as the chair of Portugal’s kings.
Palácio de Sub Ripas
The early-16th-century Palácio p Sub Ripas, currently home to the university’s Instituto de Arqueologia, is a striking case of 16th-century architecture. It is closed to the general public but from external, it is possible to respect its prominent facade. The most apparent characteristic is its own flamboyant Manueline door however, the building also boasts a few nice Renaissance windows and stone ornamentation, the work of Jean de Rouen, whose workshop was local.
Núcleo da Cidade Muralhada/Torre de Almedina
Housed in the medieval tower across the Arco de Almedina, this small island features a plaster cast of this town’s ancient design, complete with defensive and castle walls, and an audiovisual demonstration of its 2km of walls. Up top you can enjoy good rooftop perspectives and look down through the matacães (embrasures), where hot oil has been traditionally poured on enemies under.
Convento de Santa Clara-a-Velha
This Gothic convent was founded in 1330 from the saintly Queen Isabel, Dom Dinis’ spouse; it functioned as her final resting position until flood compelled her to be transferred uphill. The adjoining museum exhibits archaeological finds and reveals two movies, one concerning the nuns who lived here, another recording the 20-year renovation which removed the river ooze which had murdered it because of the 17th century.
Jardim da Manga
This little square, previously a portion of the cloister of this Mosteiro de Santa Cruz, is dominated by its own enormous centerpiece: a lemon-yellow, four-buttressed fountain which symbolizes the origin of existence. An ancient example of Renaissance architecture in Portugal, it owes its title into a legend which King Joao III sketched its layout in his sleeve (manga in Portuguese).
Casa Museu Bissaya Barreto
Bissaya Barreto was a local physician, scholar and obsessive hoarder of fine arts, along with his late-19th-century mansion is now a small museum. A manual (not always English-speaking) communicates guests via chambers filled with Victorian sculpture and painting, Oriental ceramic, older azulejos (hand-painted tiles) and period furniture.
Portugal dos Pequenitos
The brainchild of local collector Bissaya Barreto, this really is really a cute theme park where children clamber around, into and about micro variations of Portugal’s most famous temples, whereas parents clutch cameras at the ready. Additionally, there are 3 minimuseums devoted to marine life, furniture and clothes.
Parque Verde do Mondego
At the bottom of the old city, this park goes from Parque Dr Manuel Braga across the riverfront. It’s wooden paths in addition to a giant green keep and kids’ playgrounds. A pedestrian bridge, the 275m-long Peter and Inês Bridge crosses the Rio Mondego.