Coimbra on the Camino Portugues
The Camino de Santiago from Portugal passes the quaint city of Coimbra. This week, residents and students of this Portuguese city are celebrating the city’s most emblematic buildings: Coimbra University has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Perched on the hill overlooking the River Mondego, this charming pocket-size city and medieval capital of Portugal is home to one of the oldest universities in operation in the world. Since Coimbra University buildings are spread around the old town (Cidade Alta), the whole city has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site this week.
King Don Dinis de Portugal founded the University in the 13th century and today hosts some 20,000 students during the academic year. 16th-century poet Luiz de Camões, Portugal’s greatest poet, is among the University’s most famous former pupils.
Coimbra History and Highlights
Coimbra is a city in central Portugal with a rich history dating back to the Roman occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. It was founded as a Roman settlement called Aeminium and later became the capital of the Kingdom of Portugal during the High Middle Ages.
One of the main highlights of Coimbra’s history is the University of Coimbra, founded in 1290 and is one of the oldest universities in Europe. The university has a long tradition of academic excellence and has played a key role in the cultural and intellectual life of the city.
In the Middle Ages, Coimbra was an important centre of learning and culture and was the site of the first Portuguese university. The city was also home to the first printing press in Portugal, which was established in 1487. During this time, Coimbra became known as a centre of cultural and artistic innovation, with a thriving community of poets, writers, and artists.
19th and early 20th centuries
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Coimbra experienced significant economic growth and modernisation. The city’s economy was based on textiles, printing, and other industries, and it became an important transportation hub with the construction of the railway.
20th and early 21st centuries
In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Coimbra underwent further development and modernisation, constructing new cultural and recreational facilities, such as the Portugal dos Pequenitos theme park and the Coimbra Football Stadium.
Today, Coimbra is a vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage. It is home to several important historical and cultural landmarks, including the University of Coimbra, the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha, and the Coimbra Cathedral. The city is also known for its lively student population and many festivals and cultural events, such as the Festa das Latas and the Festa das Chouriças.