Coimbra Stories and Tips

Coimbra University

Foto 1 Photo, Coimbra, Portugal

The University buildings are situated on the top of a hill, which overlooks the city. It is well worth a visit. You enter the old part of the University through an Iron Gate. Inside the gate is the enormous University Patio, with a large statute of João III. Beside the gate, to the left when entering, you will see the long low palace wing. The University Library is in the far-left corner and is well worth taking the tours that are provided. It is fascinating, very large and very old. If you're here in the end of April or beginning of May make it a point to see the students singing Fado and burning their ribbons at the end of the school year.

The University's eighteenth-century clock stands in the right hand corner of the courtyard, domineering the skyline. The high-reaching, elegant tower, in its erudite baroque, stands as a symbol of the University and of the city itself. The Sala dos Capelos or Sala Grande dos Actos, form the sumptuous backdrop to the solemn academic rights held here. Capela de S. Miguel (Saint Michael's Chapel) has a welcoming atmosphere with its fine altars and baroque organ.

The Via Latina recalls the procession of graduates, the opening of the school year and the investiture of the Rector. The splendid Baroque library Biblioteca Joanina (King John's Library) dazzles visitors with its gold leaf work and its amazing treasury of books of universal value.

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