Coimbra, the main town in the center of Portugal, is one of the most historical sites of the country, with the river Mondego at its feet.
A town with narrow streets, patios, stairs and medieval arcs. Coimbra gave birth to six kings of Portugal and the first Dinasty, as well as the first University, which is one of the oldest in Europe.
Owner of a splendid patrimony which is important to meet. Monuments like Sé Velha (Old Cathedral) and the churches of S. Tiago, São Salvador and Santa Cruz (with the graves of the first monarchs of Portugal) go back to the origins of the Portuguese nation. A lot of other monuments are remarkable in Coimbra, such as the beautiful Convents of Santa-Clara-a-Velha and Santa-Clara-a-Nova, Santo António dos Olivais Church, Celas Monastery, Manga’s Clauster or Sé Nova de Coimbra (New Cathedral).
Coimbra also has magnificent green spaces such as Parque Verde do Mondego, Penedo da Saudade, Jardim Botânico, Parque do Vale das Flores or Parque de Santa Cruz.
Coimbra also offers important cultural sites and museums. Machado de Castro National Museum (Museu Nacional Machado de Castro), situated in the old “Paço Episcopal” of the town, is considered one of the most important museums of the country. The history of the town is closely linked to the history of the University (Universidade de Coimbra), which is a compulsory site to be visited, with its Museum of Sacred Art (Museu de Arte Sacra), S. Miguel’s Chapel (Capela de São Miguel) and its fantastic library (Biblioteca Joanina).
The academic tradition of Coimbra is everywhere around the town, with the animation of the famous “republicas” (student’s homes), the bars and parties of the old part of the town, as well as the typical “Fado” (Coimbra’s traditional song), which prevail till today with the same cultural strength of the past.
The “fado” of Coimbra is exclusively sung by men and the singers, as well as the musicians (Portuguese guitar players) wear the traditional clothes of the sudents: “traje academico”: black trousers and long black jacket (batina), usually worn under a black woolen cape. The “fado” is sung in the evening, almost in the dark, in squares, streets of the town, in the staircases of Santa Cruz Monastery and Old Cathedral (Sé Velha). It is a tradition of the town to organize “serenatas”, sung by the window of the lady, whose heart you want to conquer. The climax of “Fado de Coimbra” is “Serenata Monumental” a serenade sung at midnight, in the staircases of the Old catedral, attended by thousands of students.cantada à meia-noite nas escadarias da Sé-Velha, ouvida por milhares de estudantes.
Coimbra, history, knowledge, culture e bohemia…