According to RELATIONSHIPSPLUS, the Portuguese city of Coimbra served as the capital during the Middle Ages. At the time, the city was known as Aeminium. The place is located about 120 kilometers south of the city of Porto. Many precious memories have been preserved in Coimbra that can tell us more about the past seven centuries. The university has played a large part in this. The many students in the city ensure that the local catering industry is not short of anything. There are therefore many cozy clubs, bars, terraces and restaurants. In terms of festivals, the city of Coimbra is also doing very well. Visitors flock to the city when the ‘Festa das Latas or Queima das Fitas’ seem to take over the city. The students keep the history-filled city of Coimbra alive. You will find peace and quiet mainly in the green parts of the city. Parks such as Penedo da Saudade, Santa Cruz Park, Mata Nacional do Choupal and the botanical garden of the university are therefore frequently visited by both guests and the local population themselves.
Top 10 sights of Coimbra
#1. Machado de Castro Museum
Only around 1965, this museum is housed in a former palace, recognized as a National Museum. It consists of several old and new buildings in which old features have been well preserved. Particularly the part containing the Cryptoporticus (a covered gallery from Roman times) is invaluable. In addition to these special archaeological findings, there are many other sights to discover, such as sculpture, ceramics, jewelery and paintings.
#2. Se Velha
This best preserved ancient Cathedral from the Romanesque period attracts thousands of visitors to Coimbra every year. The inside is just as beautiful as the outside suggests. The nave and the main altar in particular are exceptional. There are also many graves that consist of the most special sculptures. Especially the tomb of Vataça Lascaris with the symbol of the two-headed eagle from which it is assumed that she was of nobility, is a real treasure.
#3. Monastery of Santa Cruz
Not far from the old cathedral Se Velha in the historic center of Coimbra is the Monastery of Santa Cruz. It was founded around the twelfth century by the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques. Over the centuries, many adjustments have taken place, with the appearance constantly changing. As a result, many architectural styles and old elements can be found today, each of which translates a piece of history.
#4. Se Nova Cathedral
This former seventeenth century Jesuit church now houses the current seat of the Diocese of Coimbra. Inside, there are many Baroque influences that the eighteenth century brought with it. The Se Nova (new) cathedral is a dominant structure that certainly attracts attention.
#5. University of Coimbra
The ‘Universidade de Coimbra’ is very important for the city of Coimbra. In addition to its position as the oldest university in Europe and therefore also Portugal, it has earned its honorable mention mainly because of the high quality and diversity of expertise in what is presented. In addition to the five campuses, the university also has a huge library, botanical garden, theater, museums, cinema and many beautiful old buildings that together form the University of Coimbra. It is not for nothing that it has recently been added to the list of Unesco World Heritage Site.
#6. Praça do Comercio
This spacious square is considered the main square of Coimbra. On this square with the St. Bartholomeus (São Bartolomeu) church you will find a number of seventeenth and eighteenth century buildings. When something important happens, it is usually in this square. In the past this was not much different. It only concerned, for example, the pillory. Today it is good to relax on one of the many terraces in the city.
#7. Museu da Ciência
In this science museum within the University of Coimbra there are many interesting facts to discover. Young and old will be amazed at the diverse topics that are discussed. In addition to permanent exhibitions, there are also various interactive experiences to be had. The emphasis placed on light makes you think about things that you normally don’t really think about.
#8. Portugal dos Pequenitos Park
This small-scale part of Portugal shows you in a nutshell what beautiful architecture the country has to offer. Professor dr. Bissaya Barreto is responsible for many of the designs. They try to familiarize you with the history of the country in a recreational and educational way. Both young and old can enjoy themselves in this fun theme park.
#9. Shopping centres
Two major shopping centers of Coimbra are Centro Comercial Dolce Vita and Forum Coimbra. Here it is especially nice during the summer months to avoid the heat of the day and then to stay in the air conditioning of one of these shopping malls. Centro Comercial Dolce Vita is located in the historic part of the city. Spread over different floors you will find everything you can expect from a shopping center. Major brand names such as Sisley, Lacoste, Pepe Jeans, Geox and Zara are reviewed. There is also a food court where you can enjoy delicious meals. The other major shopping center, Forum Coimbra, is located in the new part of the city. This shopping center on the left bank of the Mondego looks beautiful, large and luxurious. The major brands are also present here. Brand names such as Mango, Zara, iStore, Swarovski, Lacoste, H&M, Primark and Massimo Dutti adorn the facade. In addition, Forum Coimbra has a food court with more than seven hundred seats, 28 restaurants and six cinemas.
#10. Estádio Cidade de Coimbra
The huge football stadium Cidade de Coimbra is hard to miss. Since its design in 2003, the stadium has acquired more and more functions. In addition to various types of sports, concerts and commercial and cultural events are also held here. Madonna and U2 have received thousands of fans during their tour.