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Coimbra Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


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Coimbra is a Portuguese city and municipality. The population was 143,396 at the time of the 2011 census, spread in an area of 319.40 square kilometers (123.3 sq mi). It is the biggest city in the district of Coimbra, the Centro region, and the Baixo Mondego subregion, and the fourth-largest urban center in Portugal (after Lisbon, Porto, and Braga). The Regio de Coimbra, which consists of 19 municipalities and covers an area of 4,336 square kilometers, is home to around 460,000 people (1,674 sq mi).

The well-preserved aqueduct and cryptoporticus are among the numerous ancient monuments going back to the Roman period, when Coimbra was the colony of Aeminium. Similarly, structures from Coimbra’s reign as Portugal’s capital (from 1131 until 1255) have survived. With its fall as the political center of the Kingdom of Portugal in the late Middle Ages, Coimbra started to emerge into a prominent cultural center. This was greatly aided by the 1290 foundation of the University of Coimbra, the oldest academic institution in the Portuguese-speaking world. Apart from drawing a large number of European and international students, the institution is also popular with visitors due to its landmarks and history.

UNESCO designated its ancient structures as a World Heritage site in 2013: “Coimbra presents an excellent example of an integrated university city with a distinctive urban morphology as well as its own ceremonial and cultural traditions that have been maintained alive through the years.”

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Coimbra | Introduction

Coimbra – Info Card

POPULATION :  143,396
LANGUAGE :  Portuguese (official)
AREA :   319.40 km2 (123.32 sq mi)
ELEVATION : Highest elevation 499 m (1,637 ft)
Lowest elevation 9 m (30 ft)
COORDINATES : 40°12′40″N 8°25′45″W
SEX RATIO :  Male: 48.45%
 Female: 51.55%
AREA CODE :  292
DIALING CODE :   +351 239

Tourism in Coimbra

Coimbra is a historic city in Central Portugal that serves as the regional capital and is the biggest municipality there, as well as one of Portugal’s four major metropolises, with almost 150 000 residents. Since the creation of the Portuguese country, the city has been an important urban and administrative center, and it is the home to one of the world’s oldest colleges, with a UNESCO-listed campus.

Climate of Coimbra

According to the Köppen climate classification, Coimbra has a moderate Mediterranean climate (Csb). In the coldest month, temperatures vary between 15 °C (59 °F) during the day and 5 °C (41 °F) at night, and may dip below 0 °C (32 °F) at times, while summer temperatures range between 29 °C (84 °F) during the day and 16 °C (61 °F) at night, and can reach 40 °C (104 °F) or more. In 1941 and 1943, the greatest and lowest temperatures recorded in Coimbra were 7.8 °C (18.0 °F) and 42.5 °C (108.5 °F). The average number of days in a year with a minimum temperature of less than 0 °C (32 °F) and a maximum temperature of more than 30 °C (86 °F) is 32.2.

Geography of Coimbra

Coimbra was traditionally at a crossroads between Braga and Lisbon, and its river access (the Mondego runs through the municipality) offered a path between the interior cities and the coastal towns (particularly the beach city of Figueira do Foz, 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Coimbra). The ancient city of Coimbra is situated in the municipality’s center and is linked by the IC2, IP3, and A1 highways to Lisbon (197 kilometres (122 mi)) and Porto (116 km (72 mi)).

The municipality is surrounded by several other municipalities in the Baixo Mondego region, including Penacova (to the northeast), Vila Nova de Poiares (to the east), Miranda do Corvo (to the southeast), Condeixa-a-Nova (to the south and southwest), Montemor-o-Velho (to the west), Cantanhede (to the northwest), and Mealhada (to the northwest) (in the north and northeast). There are some lovely mountain towns just outside the municipality, such as Lous and Penacova, as well as spa towns and villages like Luso, Buçaco, and Curia.

Although it ceased to be the capital of Portugal in the 13th century, Coimbra maintains significant significance as the center of the ancient Beira province, now known as the Centro area. It is regarded, together with Braga, one of the two most significant regional cities in Portugal outside of the metropoles of Lisbon and Porto, serving as the focal point for the whole country’s central area. The municipality is most known for the city of Coimbra, which is famed for its monuments, churches, libraries, museums, parks, nightlife, healthcare, and retail facilities. Above all, its cultural life, centered on the University of Coimbra, has traditionally drawn the nation’s famous authors, artists, professors, and nobility, solidifying its status as the Lusa-Atenas capital (Lusitanian Athens).

Economy of Coimbra

The city’s wealth is based primarily on its University of Coimbra, which has approximately 20,000 students – the city has a total of 35,000 higher education students when other higher education institutions are included – but also on shopping, the technology and health sciences industry, administrative offices, financial services, law firms, and specialized medical care. There are several private clinics and medical offices in the city, as well as two big autonomous state hospital centers: the H.U.C. – Hospitais da Universidade de Coimbra, a university hospital, and the C.H.C. – Centro Hospitalar de Coimbra, which contains a general hospital. Coimbra also features a regional branch of the national cancer hospital, the I.P.O. – Instituto Português de Oncologia, and a military hospital. The Instituto Nacional de Medicina Legal, Portugal’s state-run forensic science institution, is based in Coimbra.

Notable companies with global headquarters in Coimbra include software companies Critical Software and Ciberbit, mechanical and electronics engineering company Active Space Technologies, telemetry and Machine to Machine company ISA, Cimpor’s cement factory in Souselas (CIMPOR Souselas), Olympus Corporation’s pan-European service facility, pharmaceutical companies Bluepharma and BASI, and the iron foundry Fucoli-Some. Traditional tapestry and pottery making are highly represented in the handicraft sector, while the city’s environs contain forests, vigorous horticultural production, vineyards, and livestock keeping in addition to forestry. The Instituto Pedro Nunes (Pedro Nunes Institute), a business incubator, actively accommodates various start-ups, most of which are committed to technology-related industries and have grown into independent spin-off firms with offices around the area. Municipal authorities are attempting to attract more innovation and high-tech businesses through initiatives such as the Coimbra Innovation Park (construction completed in 2010), with the goal of promoting innovation and companies that promote research and development (such as nanotechnology company Innovnano, a subsidiary of Companhia Unio Fabril).

Coimbra offers an open-air fresh produce market on the 7th and 23rd of every month at Feira dos 7 e dos 23, as well as a huge fresh produce market in downtown at Mercado D. Pedro V. Coimbra’s Baixa (downtown) boasts several coffeehouses and bakeries, as well as various speciality stores offering a variety of items in characteristic old-fashioned architectural settings. Large commercial facilities with parking include a medium-sized shopping center (CoimbraShopping); two larger shopping centers with hypermarkets, restaurants, movie theaters, and several shops with a selection of some of Portugal’s and the world’s most famous and stylish international brands include “Dolce Vita Coimbra” designed by the American planning and design firm, Suttle Mindlin and Forum Coimbra; and two retail parks located on the city’s outskirts (Retail Park Mondego in Taveiro, and Coimbra Retail Park in Eiras). Dolce Vita Coimbra received the 2006 MIPIM International Design Award, the 2006 ICSC International Design Award, and the 2006 ICSC European Design Award, demonstrating that Portugal and Coimbra provide both historically significant and totally contemporary retail experiences.



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