University of Coimbra, Portugal

University of Coimbra has the reputation of being one of the oldest universities of Europe and oldest one of Portugal! The University was first established in Lisbon, after several relocations it was firmly established in Coimbra in 1537 by John III. Today, University of Coimbra has the prestige of being one of the oldest universities in continuous operation in the world, and also as one of Portugal’s largest higher education and research institutions.

University of Coimbra IndraniUniversity of Coimbra Facade

Tour of University of Coimbra

We stood rooted seeing the huge courtyard of the University. To the left is the entrance to the University, in the middle you can see the statue of John III with his hand on his hip. The left pic has the library.

University of Coimbra 1

University of Coimbra has 8 faculties. What we did not see is more than what we saw. The botanical gardens are spread out and beautiful, something left to see if I visit again. The ground floor and first floor has several classrooms. When we toured none of the classes were on, so could visit each classroom. My daughters had a great time posing as students. They sat on the benches of the classrooms, just to get a feel of the university. The best part was the tiled decorations on the walls of the classrooms!

University of Coimbra 3University of Coimbra(Please click and enlarge to see details.)

University of Coimbra’s grand examination room is a sight to see! Old style and charming too. It is the site for university’s major academic ceremonies such as oral exams and graduations. In the original plan this was the throne room of the royal palace. The ceiling has some amazing patterns with Indo-Portuguese themes. If you are there when any of their ceremonies are on you can see the brass band at the back which punctuates the ceremonies with music, there is no clapping during the events.

Views of Town of Coimbra

We were not allowed to enter but we saw it from the balcony at the top. The ambiance is grand! The tower houses the bell which signals the start and end of classes.

We got wonderful views of the town from the viewing platform. Beyond the houses you can see the Mondego River, the longest river that flows entirely over Portugal. The third pic has the Baroque façade of the new cathedral from 16th century.

University of Coimbra 2

The students there have a set of academic rituals that developed hundreds of years ago. Some consider the rituals violent and crude, yet they remain an important reference in the academic experience of the students. Known as Praxe, it gives students a special sense of participation in those academic rituals.

Travel tips for Coimbra:

If you travel to University of Coimbra during months of late October, November or May you can see Parades of Rowdy Students, in funny costumes, dragging tins, it is a tradition the students follow marking the beginning and end of school year.

1st March is the day of the university. It is an occasion for a week of debates, conferences, workshops, and special events related with multiple aspects of the institution.


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45 Responses

  1. TexWisGirl says:

    wow! stunning! both the buildings and the views!

  2. What wonderful architecture! A higher place of learning with deep historic roots in a beautiful setting would be heaven for any student. But they probably take it in stride. 🙂

  3. sylviakirk says:

    What a beautiful university!!! Superb captures and a great post for the day, as always, Indrani!! I have you have a wonderful weekend!!

  4. DeniseinVA says:

    Fabulous place Indrani. Thank you for sharing it. I enjoy my travels with you 🙂

  5. Bob says:

    Marvelous pictures of student life.

  6. I like the architecture! How awesome that the university has been there for nearly five centuries!

  7. Impressive University. Great views, lovely fences and ornate classrooms.

  8. Joyful says:

    It’s a magnificent looking university and you’ve got some great photos of it.

  9. Amazing, Great photos.

  10. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder says:

    What an expansive campus and impressive architecture… 🙂

  11. It’s appears less of a University and more of a tourist attraction.

  12. vatsala mallya says:

    How magnificent the university looks ! The architechture is superb .
    You have captured them too well Indrani..

  13. Jyothi D'mello says:

    I love architectural structures in white and this one is gorgeous. Beautiful pics Indrani.

  14. Arun says:

    The university looks nice.

  15. Looks much ostentatious

  16. Mridula says:

    Those are some classrooms to teach in!

  17. Kaash! Main yahan padh paati 😉

  18. Arun says:

    The examination room looks stunning!

  19. nancy chan says:

    A beautiful and grand place for a classroom. A place with deep history roots.

  20. Wow..what a place man! Wonderfully captured!!

  21. Ami says:

    I like the funny costumes tradition. Lovely pictures 😀

  22. ladyfi says:

    Wow – that is so gorgeous!

  23. Jeevan says:

    Must feel great visiting such a prestige educational institution! Impressive campus and superb capture on the royal class rooms…

  24. Yogi saraswat says:

    Thank you Indrani ji for taking us to the one of oldest university of Europe . Very well written and pictures are really very impressive .

  25. eileen says:

    Hello Indrani, what a beautiful university. Thanks for sharing your visit. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

  26. Just came across your blog. Impressive pictures and what an amazing place to be at.

  27. Chaitali says:

    How lucky are you to visit all this! Keep exploring and keep unfolding to us.

  28. While reading this post, a phrase popped in my mind “Indranipedia – Info with amazing clicks.” 🙂

  29. Priyanka says:

    Those lights are so pretty!

  30. Beautiful pictures. The university looks great 🙂

  31. sibichen says:

    Very well captured the academic glory!

  32. Lilli says:

    Thank you so much for the visit and yes it has been a long time since i have done my blog trying to get back into it,
    again your photos are so well captured it reminds me how much i enjoyed seeing them , will try to keep up. Have a very nice day

  33. You have captured each and every thing beautifully. Though it is the oldest university, they have maintained it so well..

  34. We had the opportunity of visiting Coimbra while in Porto last year, but unfortunately had to pass. There is so much to see in Portugal, once you start seeing the country, you don’t want to miss any spot.

  35. Sab says:

    Thanks for sharing, great post! Portugal is such a great place, this guide makes me want to go back!

  36. Skye says:

    What a stunning place to study. So great you could wander the grounds. Universities in the UK and Europe really are a world apart from those we have at home. The gorgeous buildings and grounds like this one you found and what a great view of the town!

  37. Gokul Raj says:

    That is a nice tour. Love the ambiance of the place. You got some really nice pics there.

  38. Ticker Eats The World says:

    Interesting. Although I’m done with my studies it’s always fascinating to see educational institutions around the world and this one is quite picturesque and magnificent

  39. Lillie says:

    Ah, Coimbra! I visited for just one day when extremely jetlagged and exhausted, so I can see now that I really missed out. This university seems like it should be at the top of any visitor’s list to the town. Love that ceiling!

  40. Nat Deduck says:

    Looks like it’s an original spot! Great stuff! We love your pictures too!

  41. Holly says:

    I am hoping to get there next year. Going to hold on to this. The parade sounds interesting and now I am curious to see it.

  42. Always love the university towns. They have a special character and vibrancy to them. Coimbra looks so classic and cultured. It seems to be steeped in the heritage and culture of Portuga.

  43. mike says:

    Touring a university is a great way to see the architecture in a region. I’d love to swing by Coimbra during one of those student parades and see how Portuguese students let loose!

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