Coimbra

August 28, 2013

Coimbra, the ancient city situated on a hill by the river Mondego, South West of Porto. An urban center best known for its university (1537), one of the oldest in Europe but also for its monuments, churches, museums, parks and intense cultural life centered around the university. A town of contrasts between the ancient upper city  on the hill and the low city, more modern and commercial by  the river. Coimbra, jardin intérieurCoimbra’s small cloisters, hidden gems, shadowed and secluded gardens where it feels so good to sit and enjoy a peaceful moment.

Coimbra, roofs and terracesCoimbra’s red roofs and terraces, houses of all ages and architecture, blending in harmoniously below the majestic and famous university’s ancient buildings.

Coimbra, lessiveCoimbra’s narrow paved streets, trying to catch a few sunrays on a laundry day.

Coimbra, uni, 2Coimbra’s University entrance door, students in the traditional black robes; they were our guides to visit old classrooms and halls where students have been studying for centuries.

Uni Coimbra, 1The Via Latina, a long walk along the University center building where students were meant to speak in Latin only, so we were told.

Coimbra, fado concertCoimbra’s well-known cabaret “Fado ao Centro” where we sat waiting for musicians  (all students) to perform their songs  (fado) of hope, love, longing, sadness about emigrating. Songs of protest and rebellion in troubled times too.

Coimbra, folk groupCoimbra on a Saturday morning when folk groups from all over the province came into town to sell their products and crafts, pausing to sing for the visitors.

Coimbra, hibiscusCoimbra, Santa Clara quartier, away from the busy city, the prestigious monuments and buildings. A little house on the hill, shutters closed to keep away the midday sun, a deserted terrace illuminated by a flamboyant bush of hibiscus.