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Coimbra

From Academic Kids

Map showing Coimbra District in Portugal

Coimbra is a city and the capital of the district of Coimbra in Portugal.

Coimbra city is located in the central part of Portugal, 120 km south of Porto, 195 km north of Lisbon. One of Portugal's biggest crossroads, Coimbra is served by the A1, the main highway of Portugal. The city is the main administrative centre of Central Portugal. Coimbra is set by the Mondego River, about 40 km east of Figueira da Foz, a neighbour coastal city with several beaches, summer and seaport facilities on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.

Contents

About Coimbra

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Partial view of Coimbra, seen from Santa Clara

The city of Coimbra has a population of 150,000 inhabitants and a total of 435,000 inhabitants in its Greater Metropolitan Area (see Grande Área Metropolitana de Coimbra). It is considered the third most important city of Portugal, after Lisbon and Porto, and plays a roll as the capital city of the central part of the country. The city and its surrounding metropolitan area is among the biggest in Portugal. With a dense urban grid the city of Coimbra is also famous for its monuments, churches, libraries, numerous parks, gardens, nightlife and shopping facilities.

The fame of the city, which was capital of Portugal during part of the 12th century and 13th century, rests mostly on its University of Coimbra with about 23,000 students - the city has a total of 33,000 higher education students considering the other schools and institutes based there - but also in shopping, technology and health sciences industry, administrative offices, financial services and specialized medical care (see Hospitais da Universidade de Coimbra). The university founded in 1290 is the seventh oldest in Europe (after University of Bologna, University of Oxford, University of Paris, University of Palencia, University of Salamanca, and University of Cambridge); it attracts students from around the world, which gives the city a special and rare atmosphere. Nowadays it has students from 70 different nationalities; almost 10% of its students are foreigners, being Portugal's most international university.

Coimbra is also known for the reduced child-scale buildings it has erected within one of its city parks. These buildings are scale copies of its own typical pieces of architecture and it was built in the fifties and sixties.

It has a large archeological site with extensive ruins dating from the time it was a Roman town called Aeminium. The cathedral of Sé Velha, built in the 12th century in the Romanesque style, is still in operation, and it is worth to visit all the old buildings from the university dating from the 15th century throough to the 18th century, the New Cathedral from the 17th century, the Monastery of Santa Cruz from the 12th century with the tombs of the two first Portuguese kings, Afonso I and his son Sancho I, and the Machado de Castro Museum, the second most important one in Portugal, after Old Art National Museum in Lisbon. The city also houses the University General Library, Portuguese second biggest library, after the National Library in Lisbon.

Tourism

There is a wide variety of accommodation available, ranging from the camping-park or one of the many inexpensive hostels to the charming downtown hotels and international chain hotels.

Events

Student Festivals

Coimbra is also known for its students' festivals. Two are held every year.

The first one, Latada, occurs in the beginning of scholar year, and is a welcome to the new University students (Caloiros).

The second one, Queima das Fitas, more important than the first, takes place at the end of the second semester (usually in the beginning of May) and it's probably the biggest student party in all Europe. It lasts for 8 days, each for each University Faculty, Letras (Humanities), Direito (Law), Medicina (Medicine), Ciências (Sciences), Farmácia (Pharmacy), Economia (Economics), Psicologia (Psychology) and Desporto (Sports).

Education

Coimbra is called as A cidade dos estudantes (The city of the students), mainly because it is the site of the oldest and one of the most prestigious universities in Portugal - the University of Coimbra. It is also the place where the oldest and biggest students' union of university students in Portugal was founded - the Associação Académica de Coimbra. Besides that, there are also some other smaller schools and institutes of higher education in the city. These schools are the Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra, a polytechnic institute, and some private higher education institutions such as the Instituto Superior Miguel Torga, the Instituto Superior Bissaya Barreto, the Escola Universitária Vasco da Gama, an arts institute and two nursing schools. The city has also a large number of public and private basic and secondary schools, as well as kindergartens and nurseries.

Sport

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Estádio Cidade de Coimbra

Coimbra is home to Académica, a football autonomous organism of the Associação Académica de Coimbra, which plays in the Main Portuguese Football League at the Estádio Cidade de Coimbra, and also to Clube de Futebol União de Coimbra (a smaller sport club, but also important in the city).

Coimbra also has one of the largest sports association in Portugal: the University of Coimbra's students' union, Associação Académica de Coimbra, includes sections dedicated to a wide array of sports such as rugby, tennis, volleyball, among others.

Euro 2004

Coimbra's Estádio Cidade de Coimbra (30,000 seats) was a site of Euro 2004.

See also


External links

de:Coimbra et:Coimbra es:Coimbra eo:Koimbro fr:Coimbra hu:Coimbra ja:コインブラ pt:Coimbra ro:Coimbra

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