Coimbra Stories and Tips

The mysterious black capes of the students can always be seen on the courtyard, the garb of students radiant with joy during the Queima das Fitas - the major academic festivity, or passionately and nostalgically grouped together during the romantic serenades of Fado de Coimbra.

Even today Coimbra´s life is much influenced by student life at the university, plenty of tradition. Students used to wear black frock coats and capes adorned with colored ribbons, representing their faculties. Fado de Coimbra is a special kind of Fado, usually sung by students, always a male voice with romantic lyrics acompained by the traditional 12-string Coimbra guitar. From the distant past the students still indicate the faculty they belong to by the colour of a ribbon they attach to their gowns. Every year in May when the academic year ends they ceremonially burn these ribbons and duly celebrate. This event is named Queima das Fitas. The students also reflect their optimistic sense of life and culture by singing a lighter and happier version of the tragic national songs and these are generally referred to as Fados da Coimbra.

The presence of so many students guarantees a college-town atmosphere like that of any other university town, with plenty of traditional coffeehouses and spots to enjoy a cool beer.

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