I already had the opportunity to write about the University of Coimbra, back when it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage in 2013 , so this time around, I thought that I post a University of Coimbra Photo Guide as an inspiring visual aid when planning your Coimbra journey.
Here is where it all begins. You are now admiring the old entrance to the citadel of Coimbra around the 10th century. The visible craftsmanship has a more recent date, being built in the 17th Century depicting university language. It is of great importance to the students of Coimbra, as it is at this very location the Capa&Batina (the formal black student uniform) gets officially worn for the first time. Also, the students must have the cape around their shoulders when passing through this door.
Symbol of the University of Coimbra in cobblestone
Right beneath the Porta Férrea, and missed by plenty of visitors, is a cobblestone artwork of the symbol of the University of Coimbra.
Although some might be tempted to direct translate Via Latina into Milkey Way (our galaxy), the correct significance and translation to the English language is actually Latin Way. This magnificent walkway and balcony were given this name to celebrate the chance of the official teaching language at the University of Coimbra from Latin to Portuguese during the 17th Century. It regularly hosts concerts and even serves as a canvas for light projection shows. It is also a great location for a photo opportunity with students who are passing by.
A Cabra (Clock Tower of the University of Coimbra)
Following the Joanina Library, A Cabra, us the most interesting element to visit when at the University of Coimbra. Still today, its clock and bell toll set the rhythm of the academic life and honors celebrations. It’s a 34-meter climb to the top, via an extremely narrow staircase, where you have to walk sideways. Regardless, the 360 views of the University and city of Coimbra, make it all worthwhile.
The “Crown Jewel” of the University of Coimbra, the Biblioteca Joanina is widely recognized as one of the most beautiful in the world. Visitors are only allowed inside for 10 minutes at a time and availability for tickets is normally fully booked days in advance, so remember to buy your tickets before.
I even took the chance and played “Mozart”!
Sala dos Capelos
The official room for high-status events held by the Dean of the University of Coimbra and its top officials, the Sala dos Capelos is mostly used for the graduation ceremony of Ph.D. students. It is not accessible to the public, however, you can admire it from this window next to the Sala dos Archeiros.
Law faculty and the Fox Azulejo
The Law Faculty (Faculdade de Direito) is the only faculty which still operates within the original building (which used to be part of the Royal Complex) where the University of Coimbra was implemented when it moved to Coimbra. You can actually pretend to be a student (hide your shades and camera) and attend a class in one of the amphitheaters. Also be on the lookout for the blue azulejo with a fox. Throughout the centuries, every time a law student would fail a class, he/she would blame it on the fox, and proceed to kick the tile in anger.
Chappel of S. Miguel
If you visit the University of Coimbra on a Saturday around lunchtime, you might see a wedding taking place at the Chappel of S. Miguel. This church is still in active operation nowadays, with Sunday masses at 12h00, but its main purpose is to consecrate the marriage of former students of Coimbra, who met at during their time at the University of Coimbra, and decided that it too should be a part of their life-long bond.
Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra
A 13-hectare green forest right next to the University of Coimbra, the Botanical Garden is a reminiscence of the interest of the Portuguese academic society for the wonders of the Natural, especially of the flora which came from the New World. It is a place of quietness and contemplation.
College of Jesus
The College of Jesus is a lesser known attraction of the Univerisity of Coimbra, but by any means a dull one. It features a Physics Gallery and a Zoology Gallery, where visitors can appreciate how these two matters where initially investigated by the students and teachers of the university since the early 17th century.
Machado de Castro Museum and Loggia Restaurant
The latest addition to the plethora of interest to the Univerisity of Coimbra, the Machado de Castro Museum stands now where the Romans built the city’s Forum atop a cryptoporticus in the 1st century AD. This underground gallery is of great interest to the ones who admire Roman and Medieval archaeology, but for me, the best thing about this location is to watch the sunset from the balcony of the Loggia restaurant!
More information about visiting the University of Coimbra at visit.uc.pt