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 [ Countries ] [ Portugal ] [ Coimbra ]
Coimbra City
1.Coimbra City
Information about Coimbra

Coimbra is an historical town of Portugal on the Mondego River, about 50 km East of the Atlantic Ocean.

With a population of less than 100,000 and a dense urban grid the town of Coimbra could fit inside the campus of some of the larger universities of North America. The fame of the town rests mostly in its university, which is one of the oldest in Europe and attracts students from around the world.

It has a large archaeological site with extensive ruins dating from the time it was a Roman town called Aeminium. The cathedral of Santa Clara, built in the 12th century in the Romanesque style, is still in operation.

One of Europe’s oldest university towns, it has kept its secular academic traditions, as seen in the black-caped students, in the soulful tones of the “fado de Coimbra” (traditional song sung to the sound of guitars by the students) and in the Queima das Fitas, a boisterous celebration of the students’ graduating year (Burning of the Ribbons). Overlooking the city is the university, with its old tower and a sumptuous Baroque library. In the adjacent quarters you will find the Old Cathedral (Romanesque) and the Machado de Castro Museum, built over a Roman crypto portico. In the ancient streets, with their medieval walls, arches and stairways, are the Santa Cruz Monastery, the church of Santiago and the monastery of Celas. On the left bank of the Mondego stands the Santa Clara-a-Nova Convent. Conimbriga, the most important Roman remains, lies 10 miles to the south in Portugal.

Coimbra is famous above all for its ancient university: one of the world's first. Coimbra consists of an upper and lower town. The bridge, Ponte de Santa Clara, crosses the Mondego River and leads onto the main square, Largo da Portagem, at its north-east bank. From here the lower town spreads out principally along the busy and happening Rua Ferreira Borges to the next main square, Praca do Comercio. A little further up Rua Visconde da Luz is Santa Cruz, a Gothic church housing the remains of Afonso Henriques, Portugal's first king, and worth a visit for its exquisite tiles.

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