Coimbra, known as "City of Knowledge" or "City of Students", is the cultural capital of Portugal. Fronting a distinctive and beautiful Mondego River, as well as, being etched into a mountainous topography, gives this city a distinctive visual flavor. The spectacular views, history, and architecture make it an essential destination for native Portuguese and visitors alike. This ancient city, with historical places like the University of Coimbra and the medieval old town, is Portugal’s most underrated city. The University of Coimbra, which is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is famous for having its foundation in the grounds of a former palace. Today, the university hosts the baroque Library and the 18th century bell tower which serve as tourist attractions.
Coimbra is one of the most important cities of the country due to its political administration offices, infrastructure, and businesses. Beyond its historical reputation and privileged geographical location, it hosts a series of monuments that emphasizes on the use of Romanesque art. The Monastery of Santa Cruz has the infamous tomb of the pioneer king of Portugal. When there, you can also visit the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha, which is a glorious sightseeing place. It was recovered from the floods that invaded it centuries ago. Se Velha (the old cathedral) provides a place where students dress up in black capes before singing the Coimbra Fudo that serves as an emotional event. Coimbra also hosts the Machado de Castro National museum and wonderful gardens such as the Choupal and Quinta das Lagrimas.
This former capital of Portugal refuses to take a back seat to the more known and larger cites of Porto and Lisbon.
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