I believe the images I had of Coimbra must have certainly been based on and built up from the incredible stories told by both my mother and father at different times, together with pictures I was shown in the past because the truth is I have been to Coimbra only once as an adolescent but the city felt rather familiar, as the three of us made our way up to the University grounds up on the hill of Almedina.
The ruins of the thirteenth century Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha rescued from the "invasion" of the River Mondego
We came across a few interesting houses, one of which was worth noting because of its rather unique shape. Known as Casa da Nau (House of the ship) dating from the epoch of the Discoveries with visible Manueline and Renaissance architectural traits is now used as a typical Coimbra student residence.
Some of the "messages" written on the walls as we kept on climbing up the hill were equally interesting and I couldn't help but photographing a few.
I can't be the woman of your life because I already am the woman in mine (literal translation of the
We came across Sé Velha (Old Cathedral) which stood proudly as to reinforce the fact that it is one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Portugal, whose first stone was laid in 1162. It is a Castle like construction, which reminds passers by that Coimbra stood right on the border of Islam
Eastern façade of the Old Cathedral highlighted by a Renaissance doorway (Porta Especiosa) made by the sixteenth century artist Jean de Rouen following the canons of the Italian Renaissance architecture (left). Main front door of the Old Cathedral (right).
The portal of the Church of São João de Almedina
We came across the façade of St. Thomas College a little further on. It should be mentioned that Monastery Colleges were rather prestigious in the sixteenth century and many wealthy students are said to have attended them.
We soon sighted the University grounds and although our intention was to visit the Joanine Library we ended up strolling around, as access to it was limited and we still had to wait for another twenty minutes.
The University 's Palace Gate
(To be continued)