Wednesday, November 19, 2008

May 20, 2008 - Coimbra, Portugal

Our Coimbra day was one of those occasional days when we should have stayed in bed. "Big Cityed" out, horrible humidity, on and off rain and no possible chance of parking near the good stuff all combined to render a unamimous decision for a short visit. We took a slothful stroll along the river, rubbernecked a while and left.
Coimbra is the seventh largest city in Portugal and is number seven of just eight cities that have a population over 100,000.
The University of Coimbra, with 23,000 students on campus, many of them international, was founded in 1290 and is the oldest academic institution in Portugal and one of the oldest in Europe. A further 12,000 students attend other higher education institutions giving the town an energetic and cosmopolitan atmosphere.
The city contains important archeological remains, including a well preserved aqueduct, from the time when it was the Roman town of Aeminium. Built on a hill near the river Mondego, Coimbra is located near the Atlantic coast, 70 miles south of Porto, 120 miles north of Lisbon and about 25 miles inland. Around 600 CE, the Visigoths kicked the romans out before being vanquished themselves by the Moors in 711. Five hundred and fifty years later, in 1064, Ferdinand I of León booted the Moors out - score one for the Christians!
Several extant monuments such as the Old Cathedral, the Church of St. James and the Santa Cruz Monastery date back to the period commencing with Ferdinand I. Some remnants of the original city wall fortifications are stll visible. Lots of great sights in Coimbra from all reports - kinda sorry we were not more up to the challenge.

No comments: