On a Coimbra trip you will be visiting what many still describe as being a great fortress of learning, and this tends to have more than just a figurative sense when you observe the city’s ancient university located on the strategic height above the Mondego River.
The Coimbra University was founded back in 1290, which places it amongst the oldest continuously operating such-institutions in the whole of Europe, and clearly the oldest in Portugal. It’s interesting to note that the University as both an institution and a building has witnessed a lot of historic events that took place in Coimbra, for instance the period in which the city was the country’s capital during the 12th and 13th centuries.
That period especially left quite the mark on the city in the form of several Romanesque and Gothic buildings, assembled into what can be described as being a dense Old City.
The Velha Universidade on the other hand is made up of several 16th to 18th century buildings, all or most of which are set up around the massive Patio das Escolas. You gain entrance to the Patio via the very elegant 17th century Porta Ferrea. The square features a statue of Joao III, the one who re-established the university here back in 1537 and invited well-known scholars to teach here. However, despite the importance of this character, the most photograph part of plaza is the 18th century clock tower.
The local Old Cathedral, or Se Velha, is one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture that you can find in the entire country, and when you consider that you’re talking about Portugal, that is saying quite a bit. The cathedral was built during the late 12th century, and its crenellated exterior and slit-like lower windows act as reminders of this area’s embattled history.
These sights and many more are waiting for you and you can see them with the help of our Coimbra car hire services.